The Fair Work Commission (FWC) is an independent body established by the Australian government to regulate and enforce workplace laws. It is responsible for overseeing the National Employment Standards (NES), modern awards, enterprise agreements, and unfair dismissal claims.
One of the primary functions of the FWC is to approve enterprise agreements between employers and employees. These agreements set out the terms and conditions of employment, including pay rates, hours of work, and entitlements such as leave and overtime. Enterprise agreements can be made between a single employer and their employees, or between multiple employers and their employees.
To be approved by the FWC, enterprise agreements must meet certain requirements. They must provide employees with better pay and conditions than the relevant modern award, and they must not contain any discriminatory provisions. Employers must also ensure that employees have had the opportunity to vote on the agreement, and that it has been explained to them in a clear and understandable manner.
Once an enterprise agreement is approved by the FWC, it has the force of law and can be enforced through the courts. If an employer breaches the terms of the agreement, employees can take legal action to enforce their rights.
The FWC also plays a role in resolving disputes between employers and employees. If a dispute arises, parties can apply to the FWC for assistance with resolving the issue. This might involve mediation, conciliation, or arbitration.
In some cases, the FWC may also investigate potential breaches of workplace laws and take enforcement action where necessary. This can include issuing fines, making orders for compensation, or prosecuting employers who have engaged in serious breaches of the law.
Overall, the role of the FWC in regulating workplace agreements and resolving disputes is crucial in ensuring fair and equitable treatment for employees. By providing a framework for enterprise agreements and enforcing workplace laws, the FWC helps to maintain a level playing field for employers and employees alike.