The Fair Work system

The new national workplace system

The Fair Work system started on 1 July 2009 and was created by the Fair Work Act 2009. It covers the majority of workplaces in Australia.

Three bodies have roles in the system:

  • the Fair Work Commission
  • Fair Work Ombudsman
  • Fair Work Federal Divisions of the Federal Court and the Federal Circuit Court.

From 1 January 2010, sole traders, partnerships, other unincorporated entities and non-trading corporations in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania are covered by the national system rather than their own specific state system. Employers that were already operating under the national system continue to be covered (e.g. Pty Ltd businesses and employers in the ACT, NT and Victoria).

There are special transitional rules for employers in these states to transition them into the national system:

  • State awards generally continue to apply under the national system for 12 months (until 1 January 2011)
  • State employment agreements continue to operate under the national system until terminated or replaced.

However, state awards and state employment agreements operate alongside the National Employment Standards (NES) and their relevant minimum wage. This means that employees covered by a state award or state agreement must receive at least the minimum entitlements in the NES and their relevant minimum wage.

If you require further information on your rights and responsibilities under the national workplace relations system, please Call us.

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Page last updated: 17 Apr 2013