CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) - SHORTENED ACCESS PERIODS FOR VARIATIONS TO ENTERPRISE AGREEMENTS
Further flexibility has been introduced to allow Employers with Enterprise Agreements to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on their businesses.
Temporary changes have been made to the Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth) for the next 6 months to amend the Access Period to vary an Enterprise Agreement down from 7 days to 1 day. This will mean Employers will only need to give 1 day's notice for employees to vote on proposed changes to their Enterprise Agreement.
Any proposed variations to an Enterprise Agreement will still need to satisfy voting requirements, as well as the Fair Work Commission's 'genuine agreement' test.
We have already seen variations to Enterprise Agreements being approved by the Fair Work Commission to allow for the voiding of obligations for planned pay rises as a result of the impacts of COVID-19. Earlier this month in Queensland, an Electrical Contracting business was successful in voiding its obligation to pass on a 3% pay rise that was scheduled for 31 March 2020 after stating it faced serious economic pressures associated with the pandemic that was jeopardising their business, with a weakening Australian dollar, supply chain constraints from China and an expected 50% drop in tenders over the next 3 to 6 months, on the basis that the employees genuinely approved the variation.
If you need urgent advice or assistance in managing the impact of Coronavirus in your workplace, please contact IR Legal Solutions to discuss.
This content is not a substitute for legal advice and is for information only. Employers should obtain advice that is specific to their circumstances and business operations, and not rely on this publication as legal advice.