he Fair Work Act 2009 establishes a safety net of working conditions for employees falling within its jurisdiction, doing so via modern awards, National Employment Standards, as well as minimum wage determinations. Employers and employees may nonetheless enter into bargaining arrangements that lead to settlements whereby the terms and conditions of employment improve upon those offered by the safety net. These settlements are known as enterprise agreements, and the processes by which they are concluded figure prominently within the regulatory content of the Fair Work Act 2009. Indeed,around 40 per cent of Australian employees are presently working under some form of enterprise agreement.
Hence the purpose of this assignment, which has two parts aimed at giving you an appreciation of this increasingly pervasive method of settling the terms and conditions of employment. The first part seeks to relay an understanding of the legal processes that govern enterprise bargaining, with a particular focus on the legal rights of employees and the legal obligations placed on employers during such processes. The second part seeks to relay an understanding of the current debates surrounding enterprise bargaining. Here the focus is placed on criticisms directed at the processes of enterprise bargaining under the present regulatory regime;the aim being to put you in touch with some of the nuances, foibles, unintended consequences,and the like, noted by the two sides of industry in the practical operation and outcomes of such
And so to the task for this assignment, which requires you to answer the following three questions:
(1) As prescribed by the Fair Work Act 2009, what legal obligations are placed on employers and what legal rights are employees entitled to when engaged in enterprise bargaining?
(2) What are the main criticisms of enterprise bargaining under the present Fair Work Act 2009?In answering this question,you are required to focus on common areas of the enterprise bargaining process that are criticised by the representatives of both employers and employees.
(3) In each of the areas of common focus you refer to, which of the criticisms given by the two sides of industry has the most validity?
In answering this question, you are required to support your arguments by making reference to the available empirical evidence.
In undertaking this assessment task you should draw on authoritative sources only to support the discussion, arguments and analysis being made. What counts as ‘authoritative’ are peer-reviewed journal articles, scholarly texts and research books, mainstream media, employer associations, trade unions, and public institutions with an interest in employment relations.You should not offer personal opinions or rely on personal experience. Nor should you refer to internet blogs, vanity sites,and the like, recognisable by their having no legitimacy in representation, or their offering of views and claims that are unaccountable to public, political or academic review.
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