Industrial Relations

The ACA is the national peak body representing architectural employers and is the designated employer organisation for architects under Fair Work Australia. We are governed by the Registered Organisations Commission and the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009. In this capacity, we represent architectural employers in negotiating all changes to the Architects Award, and on related industrial matters.

We encourage all architectural employers to familiarise themselves with the award and their obligations under it and other workplace law. The detailed information in this section helps members to meet these obligations.

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ACA members can also access the ACA Industrial Relations Advisory Service, which provides a 15-minute consultation per practice each year with Fair Work Lawyers.


The Architects Award

30 October 2023

All architectural businesses must understand their obligations under the Architects Award. Here we include a short overview of the award, the ACA’s role in negotiating it, and the assistance we provide to members regarding the Award. Updated Awards are available to all ACA members.

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Closing Loopholes timeline

17 April 2024

ACA’s HR advisor Catalina Consultants has compiled a summary of changes from the Closing Loopholes legislation plus a timeline of key dates and suggested actions required. Significant changes on the horizon include right to disconnect, new laws related to independent contractors, casual employment definitions, and wage theft.

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Work downturns and redundancies

8 April 2024

Redundancy can be a complicated process and is an area where there is extensive litigation. The ACA’s IR advisor Fair Work Lawyers takes us through the main risks associated with redundancies (and dismissals more generally) and outlines employer obligations in relation to terminations.

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Right to Disconnnect

12 March 2024

Given the recent Right to Disconnect legislation, what adjustments would you recommend we make in our practice to ensure compliance with the new rules? The ACA’s HR advisor Catalina Consultants outlines what the new rules mean for employers and some practical measures to aid in the promotion of a healthy work-life balance while still safeguarding productivity.

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Closing Loopholes Legislation – Part 2

4 March 2024

On 12 February 2024 the second part of the Federal Government’s Closing Loopholes legislation passed through both houses of Parliament. Part 2 features many significant changes to Australia’s current workplace law, including redefining casual employment, massive increases to civil penalties for wage theft, and introducing the ‘right to disconnect’. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides an overview of what employers need to know.

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Closing Loopholes Legislation – Part 1

1 February 2024

On 14 December 2023, part one of the Federal Government’s Closing Loopholes legislation received royal assent, introducing changes around wage theft, union delegate rights and anti-discrimination laws, as well as bringing in “same job, same pay” regulated labour hire arrangements. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides an overview of what is new and what other changes may be on the way.

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Pay Points & the Architects Award

29 January 2024

How do graduates and registered architects step between the pay points within the Architects Award? The ACA’s IR advisor Fair Work Lawyers takes us through employer obligations regarding pay for graduates and registered architects.

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Changes to Miscellaneous Award

15 November 2023

The Fair Work Commission has announced that from 30 October 2023 there are changes to some of the age group descriptions in the Miscellaneous Award, which covers interior designers. If this Award is relevant to your practice, download the updated Miscellaneous Award today!

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New competencies and the Architects Award

15 November 2023

On 30 October 2023, the Fair Work Commission approved the ACA’s application to amend the Architects Award to reflect the new National Standard of Competency for Architects. See the detailed explainer from Emma Avey of Fair Work Lawyers and download the updated Architects Award today!

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Closing Loopholes Legislation

6 September 2023

On Monday 4 September, the Federal Government announced its third tranche of IR reforms in the past 12 months. Under the title of “closing loopholes”, the legislation proposes widespread changes not only to employment relationships (and especially casual and labour hire engagements) but also independent contracting arrangements. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides an overview of the proposed legislation and the potential implications for employers.

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2023 Architects Award Pay Rates

3 July 2023

The 2023 Federal Industrial Award pay rates have been updated and are applicable from 1 July 2023. ACA members can log in to access award pay rates relevant to architectural practice today!

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Fair Work Commission Wage Decision 2023

2 June 2023

The Fair Work Commission has just handed down the 2023 wage decision, increasing the national minimum wage and base rates of pay in modern awards. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides a summary of the decision. The ACA will update relevant Award pay rates as soon as possible.

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Flexibility Expanded

1 June 2023

From Tuesday 6 June 2023, more employees will be able to request flexible working arrangements, and employers will have new obligations regarding flexible work requests, including a more rigorous process of discussion, negotiation and written responses.

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2023 Changes to Parental Leave

29 May 2023

From 1 July 2023, the rules for government-funded parental leave are changing to provide greater flexibility for parents to share caring responsibilities.

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Sexual Harassment Reforms – What They Mean For Employers

6 March 2023

Recent anti-discrimination and Fair Work amendment legislation has introduced a number of important legislative changes specifically targeting sexual harassment in the workplace. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides a recap of the changes and their implications for employers.

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New Workplace Laws – Sexual Harassment

1 March 2023

New federal legislation has strengthened workplace laws around sexual harassment. From 6 March, the prohibition of sexual harassment in the workplace is enshrined in the Fair Work Act, and there is now a positive duty on employers to prevent workplace sexual harassment, sex discrimination and victimisation. Here we highlight some relevant ACA resources.

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New Workplace Laws – Pay Secrecy & Job Ads

25 January 2023

New workplace laws now apply regarding pay secrecy clauses in employment agreements and what you can include in job advertisements. These laws are part of the Fair Work Amendment legislation that was passed by the Federal parliament in December 2022.

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Fair Work Amendment Act – An Overview

7 December 2022

The Federal government’s recent workplace relations reform legislation, first introduced six weeks ago, passed both houses of parliament and is due to come into law imminently. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides an overview of the legislation amendments and their implications for employers.

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Employment Agreement Templates – User Guide

5 December 2022

This User Guide is a companion to the new ACA Employment Agreement Templates, offering advice on how to best use these templates within practice. Topics include pay rates, allowances, amending Schedule A, amending the contract, adding a position description and re-issuing contracts to existing employees.

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Updated Employment Agreement Templates

5 December 2022

The ACA is delighted to release an updated version of the Employment Agreement templates to support members. This follows a plain language review of our template employment contracts with Fair Work Lawyers to ensure they are user friendly as well as legally compliant. Download today!

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Paid Family & Domestic Violence Leave Entitlements

17 November 2022

On 9 November, the Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2022 received royal assent. This legislation introduces paid family and domestic violence leave to all employees as an entitlement under the National Employment Standards. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides the following update for ACA members.

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Fair Work Amendment Bill

28 October 2022

On 27 October, the Federal Government issued its long-awaited workplace relations reform. The document spans some 240-odd pages of dense legislation and if passed will represent some of the most significant employment reforms in well over a decade. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides an initial review of the legislation.

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The Removal of Mandatory COVID-19 Isolation

10 October 2022

Mandatory COVID isolation periods will be removed nationally on 14 October, with a more direct burden on employers to address COVID risk within the workplace under WHS laws. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers teases out the issue in his latest IR Update for ACA members.

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One-off Public Holiday

15 September 2022

The Prime Minister has announced a national day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, to be held on Thursday, 22 September 2022. This is intended to be a one-off public holiday rather than a recurring one. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers takes us through what this means for businesses. 

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Fair Work Commission Wage Decision 2022

15 June 2022

The Fair Work Commission has just handed down the 2022 wage decision, increasing the national minimum wage and base rates of pay in modern awards. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides a summary of the decision. The ACA will update relevant Award pay rates as soon as possible.

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Fair Work Decision on Family & Domestic Violence Leave

17 May 2022

The Fair Work Commission has handed down a major decision supporting 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave for modern award workers. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers unpacks the detail of the decision.

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Legal overview of WA’s WHS changes

9 May 2022

Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides an overview of the new WHS laws brought into effect in WA in March 2022. Practices need to be aware that there are potentially significant changes to the way that safety in design is dealt with under the new WHS legislation.

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Independent Contractors Key High Court Decisions

16 February 2022

On 9 February 2022, the High Court handed down two long-awaited decisions regarding the engagement of independent contractors as compared to employees, an issue that has long been filled with complexity and fraught with risk. Tom Earls unpacks the detail of the decisions and outlines the key takeaways for ACA members.

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COVID-19 & the Workplace – IR Update

21 January 2022

As the Omicron strain continues to wreak havoc across the country, Emma Avey from Fair Work Lawyers provides timely advice on workplace issues, including WHS consultation with employees, Rapid Antigen Testing, and managing leave entitlements.

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Vaccination Data & Privacy Considerations

26 November 2021

Practices need to take care when collecting and storing employee vaccination data. Tom Earls answers some timely questions for ACA members about vaccination certificates, privacy and risk.

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Vaccinations – Commonly Asked Questions

12 October 2021

As NSW comes out of lockdown, with Victoria soon to follow, questions continue to be raised about vaccinations and workplace rules. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers tackles some curly questions about vaccination status and the workplace for ACA members.

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Vaccinations – September Update

22 September 2021

Our legal advisor, Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers, has provided a further timely update for ACA members on the current advice around vaccination for employers, with a focus on assessing risks and implementing control measures, third-party mandates, workplace discrimination laws, employee refusal and vaccine incentives.

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Industrial Relations – FAQs

21 September 2021

At the ACA we are here to help you understand your industrial relations obligations. This FAQ article, prepared by Fair Work Lawyers, is designed to answer your commonly asked questions.

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Vaccinations & the Workplace

16 August 2021

Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides a timely update for ACA members on the current advice around vaccinations and the workplace.

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Casual Employment – An Explainer

6 July 2021

Tom Earls provides detailed analysis of employer obligations relating to casual engagements, and the key steps to take during the transitional window, which has the critical end date of 27 September 2021.

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Working from Home – A New Frontier

1 June 2021

Employment law does not always gel with new flexible work arrangements, but it must be considered before implementing a work-from-home system. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers unpacks relevant employer obligations for ACA members.

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Casual Employment Information Statement

30 March 2021

The new Casual Employment Information Statement is now available for download. All employers are obligated to give a copy of this statement to any new casual employee employed on or after 27 March 2021.

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New IR Legislation – Update

29 March 2021

A stripped back version of the Federal Government’s Industrial Relations bill was passed in parliament on 22 March, with amendments focusing on one issue only – casual employment. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides a summary for ACA members.

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Summary of New IR Legislation

10 December 2020

The Federal government announced its long awaited workplace relations reform package on 9 December, setting the scene for industrial relations to be at the forefront of the political agenda coming into 2021. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides a summary of the proposed legislation for ACA members.

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2020 Industrial Relations Overview

8 December 2020

As the year draws to a close, we provide a 2020 summary of the changes made to the Architects Award and other awards relevant to architectural practice.

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Clerks Award Flexibility Extended

29 March 2021

The temporary Schedule I in the Clerks Award, which allows for additional flexibility to assist employers and employees during the pandemic, has been extended to 30 June 2021.

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Industrial Relations Update

27 September 2020

This IR update relates to recent changes to two modern awards regarding payment of wages on termination, and further clarification on an Architects Award clause relating to a pay scale for the new classification of Bachelor’s Degree with a Pathway to a Master of Architecture.

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High Court Decision about Personal Leave

14 August 2020

Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers summarises the findings of an important high court decision about personal leave accrual for ACA members.

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Clerks Award - An Explainer

31 July 2020

The various classifications of the Clerks Award can cause confusion. Tom Earls of Fair Work Lawyers clears up some common areas of conflict.

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Unpaid Pandemic Leave & Annual Leave at Half Pay

19 January 2022

The Fair Work Commission has extended the entitlement to unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave at half pay for many awards to 30 June 2022.

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COVID-19 & Industrial Manslaughter

4 June 2020

By 1 July 2020, Victoria will introduce industrial manslaughter laws for the first time. At the same time, Australia continues its efforts to contain COVID-19, including significant restrictions on work and workplaces. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers explores the issues for ACA members.

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Federal Court's Ruling on Casual Employment

21 May 2020

On 20 May 2020, the full bench of the Federal Court redefined what constitutes a casual worker. Michael Corrigan digs into the detail.

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Architects Award Changes 2020

4 May 2020

The new Architects Award 2020 document came into effect on 4 May 2020. There are notable changes to six clauses. The ACA encourages all members to ensure they understand these changes and their obligations as employers in relation to them.

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How to Retain Staff During the Coronavirus Pandemic

31 March 2020

The response to COVID-19 is unprecedented and evolving daily. As government decisions directly and indirectly impact on businesses, employers are looking at ways to continue operating in the face of enormous challenges. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers briefly describes the options available to architecture practices.

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Clerks Award Flexibility

29 March 2020

The Clerks Award has been temporarily amended to enable more flexibility during the Coronavirus outbreak.

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Coronavirus: Stand Down Considerations

19 March 2020

Tom Earls and David Putland from Fair Work Lawyers provide an update on key considerations for employers when circumstances force them to stand down parts of their workforce.

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Coronavirus: Implications for Employers

15 March 2020

With COVID-19 threatening to have significant impacts on businesses and workplaces around Australia in the coming weeks and months, Tom Earls and David Putland from Fair Work Lawyers provide insights into the complex and often competing legal concepts relating to employment.

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Annualised Salaries - changes to the Clerks Award

25 February 2020

Changes to the Clerks Award insert new rules about annual salaries, with changes coming into effect from the first full pay period on or after 1 March 2020.

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Community Service Leave

14 January 2020

Practice owners and managers should be aware that all employees, including casuals, are entitled to community service leave to take on emergency service management activities, such as volunteering for the Country Fire Authority (CFA) or State Emergency Service (SES).

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Fair Work Information Statement

30 March 2021

A new Fair Work Information Statement was released on 29 March 2021. This must be given to all new employees, as part of an employer’s responsibilities under the National Employment Standards.

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2019 Industrial Relations Overview

4 December 2019

The ACA continues to represent architectural employers on industrial relations matters, to keep members informed about changes that impact them, and to support architects to be fair and ethical employers. As 2019 comes to a close we review the changes that have occurred this year.

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2018 Updates to Architects Award

12 December 2018

As the year draws to a close, we take a brief look at the changes made to the Architects Award this year.

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Flexibility - New Award Clauses

28 November 2018

New clauses in Modern Awards aim to further support flexible work. The ACA outlines what this might mean, how employers can prepare for these changes, and where to find good material to support flexible workplaces.

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Right to Request Flexible Work

28 November 2018

The Modern Awards include a new clause outlining the right to request flexible work.

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Termination of Employment Clause

29 October 2018

A new award determination requires employers to pay employees within seven days of their termination of employment.

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Long Service Leave Changes

17 October 2018

The Victorian Government has expanded the rights of employees regarding long service leave, effective from 1 November.

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Converting Casual Employees to Permanent

24 September 2018

The Fair Work Commission has handed down a new determination that will impact ACA members with regular casual employees.

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Legal Advice: Unpaid Internships

13 August 2018

What are your obligations in terms of unpaid internships? Nick Ruskin from K&L Gates looks at the fine print.

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ACA Provides Valuable Input to New Architects Award

16 July 2018

The ACA continues to advocate for its members as the Architects Award is reviewed by the Fair Work Commission.

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New Model Domestic Violence Leave Clause in Awards

16 April 2018

The ACA welcomes the decision of the Fair Work Commission that a model domestic violence leave clause should be inserted into modern Awards.

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Architects Award: FAQ

19 March 2018

The Architects Award sets the minimum standards and wages for the employment of architects, architectural graduates and architecture students. FAQs to help you meet your obligations.

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Individual Flexibility Arrangements

2 June 2021

Individual flexibility arrangements provide the opportunity to vary modern awards or enterprise agreements to provide flexibility in a fair and appropriate manner.

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What is Reasonable Management Action?

14 October 2017

An employee usually won’t succeed in an unfair dismissal or bullying claim if the conduct of their employer is considered ‘reasonable management action’. But what does that term mean? Merilyn Speiser from Catalina Consultants investigates.

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Can casual workers really just ask to become permanent?

16 August 2017

A recent Fair Work decision about the right of casual workers to request permanency has raised many questions. Merilyn Speiser from Catalina Consultants provides the answers.

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Draughting Employees - Which Award?

10 August 2017

Which Award are draughtspeople classified under? Michael Corrigan explains.

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Time off in Lieu - New Rules

19 March 2017

A surprise decision by the Fair Work Commission now requires employers to calculate time off in lieu (TOIL) at a rate of 1.5 hours for each hour of overtime worked for employees being paid at the Award rates.

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Students and Graduates of Architecture

30 August 2016

Provisions for students and graduates of architecture in the Architects Award and applicable pay rates.

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Reducing the Risk of General Protections Claims

20 July 2015

The Fair Work Act 2009 contains a range of general protections available to employees against conduct that is discriminatory, unfair or unlawful. Peta Tumpey and Rae Mozejko, of TressCox Lawyers, set out what the general protections are and what employers can do to avoid claims being made in this jurisdiction.

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Meeting Your Obligations in Relation to Redundancy

12 May 2015

Peta Tumpey and Katie Simon outline the steps you need to go through as an employer to ensure you meet your obligations in relation to redundancy.

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Fair Work Employer Checklist

2 February 2014

Do you understand all your obligations under the national workplace relations system?

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Your Business and the New Anti-Bullying Legislation

3 December 2013

Michael Corrigan explains the changes to workplace laws on bullying and what you need to know.

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Changing Employees' Hours of Work

11 October 2013

Managing reducing hours of work to ensure minimum stress and maximum benefit for all.

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Anti-bullying legislation

10 July 2013

New anti-bullying legislation focusses on how employers respond to allegations of bullying.

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10 September 2012

When does redundancy occur and what are your obligations as an employer?

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