Fair Work Commission to undertake ‘Work and Care’ Awards review

Fair Work Commission to undertake 'Work and Care' Awards review

Fair Work Commission to undertake ‘Work and Care’ Awards review

At the Federal government’s request, the Fair Work Commission has announced that it will undertake a review of Modern Awards, which will be known as the Modern Awards Review 2023-24 (the Awards Review). The review will focus on balancing ‘Work and Care’ in the context of modern industrial awards.

The Awards Review will proceed in a typical Commission fashion, with an initial discussion paper released on 29 January 2024, which is intended to form the basis of discussions with interested stakeholders.

The further steps that will occur in the Awards Review are detailed below:

  • Step 2 (8 March 2024) ‘Research Report’: The FWC will publish a research paper prepared by the Western Sydney University
  • Step 3 (March-April 2024) ‘Survey of Employers’: The FWC will conduct a survey of employers on workplace flexibilities
  • Step 4 (March- April 2024) ‘Consultations’: The FWC will hold consultations on work and care with interested parties.

The Commission intends to publish its final report in June 2024.

The Awards Review stems from a Senate Select Committee on Work and Care, which handed down an Interim Report in October 2022, followed by a Final Report in March 2023.

The Committee made a number of significant recommendations, including:

  • The encouragement for employees to work from home and flexibility of work;
  • More predictable rosters, including greater consultation with employees when setting rosters;
  • Broadening the definition of ‘immediate family’ for leave arrangements;
  • Reviewing access to payment for paid, sick and annual leave for casual and part-time workers;
  • Reducing the standard 38-hour week.

It is increasingly clear that the government has an agenda to pursue the ability of workers to work from home, in some capacity, to enhance worker flexibility.

At the same time, they are pushing, as part of the IR reforms, the ability of workers to ‘disconnect from work’ by restricting contact from employers after hours or awarding employees some form of financial penalty in such circumstances.

In addition, the Committee believes that a 4-day week could become the model for many industries to support increased flexibility for employees in the workplace.

We will provide further advice as the Award Review proceeds.

discussion-paper-work-and-care-290123.pdf

For queries about Modern Awards, workplace flexibility. or other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 0417 622 178, 1300 WAL LAW or via email to dean.cameron@workforceadvisory.com.au

Disclaimer: This information is provided as general advice on workplace relations and employment law. It does not constitute legal advice, and it is always advisable to seek further information regarding specific workplace issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

Ref: 408.0224

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