employee consultation

There’s an increasing amount of industrial relations legislation which gives Australian employees the right to be informed and consulted – from The Fair Work Act 2009, which requires employers to consult with employees in a range of situations, to new work health and safety laws that further increase an employer’s responsibility to consult their employees.

Often such a legal shift is an acknowledgement that a certain approach is already considered best practice and a legal framework is established to ensure it becomes widespread.

Seek legal advice to ensure you are meeting all your employee consultation responsibilities under both federal and state laws.

when to consult employees

You must consult with employees:

  • where you intend to implement major changes in the workplace that are likely to have a significant impact on employees, including termination of employment in certain circumstances
  • when designing and implementing work, health and safety policies and/or practices
  • when bargaining in good faith in the context of negotiating the terms of an enterprise agreement (see Best Practice Guide No 11 Improving workplace productivity in bargaining at www.fairwork.gov.au)
  • where an employee requests flexible working conditions under the National Employment Standards (as a result of the employee’s caring responsibilities)
  • under provisions for flexible working arrangements set out in a relevant modern award
  • in the course of negotiating an individual flexible arrangement under an enterprise agreement (see Best Practice Guide No 3 Use of individual flexibility arrangements at www.fairwork.gov.au)

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