From 1 January 2010, national system employers and Victorian employers will be required to issue a statement of industrial rights to new employees.
What is the Fair Work Information Statement?
The Fair Work Information Statement (FWIS) is a fact sheet which outlines prescribed information about an employee’s rights and entitlements at work, including the 10 National Employment Standards (NES), Modern Awards, agreement making, freedom of association and the role Fair Work Australia (FWA).
The purpose of the FWIS is to provide employees with advice about where to go for information and assistance on workplace issues, as well as providing contact details for FWA.
Who must it be given to and when?
The FWIS must be given to all new employees, who commence employment after 1 January 2010. It does not need to be provided to any existing employees.
Employers are not required to provide the information sheet to an employee more once in any 12 month period where they employ an employee more than once in the 12 month period (e.g. a casual employee).
What information will it include?
The FWIS will provide information about:
- The NES, i.e. what they mean and how they apply;
- Modern awards;
- Agreement making under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth);
- The right to freedom of association, i.e. the right to choose whether or not to be a member of a union;
- Termination of employment;
- Individual flexibility arrangements;
- Right of entry (including the protection of personal information by privacy laws); and
- The role of FWA and the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Tips for Compliance
Employers should ensure they have a detailed list of all employees who must receive the Fair Work Information Sheet e.g. all new employees commencing employment after 1 January 2010.
How can the employer give the Statement to the employee?
The Statement may be given to an employee by:
- Giving it personally to the employee;
- Sending it by pre-paid post to the employee’s residential address or a postal address nominated by the employee;
- Sending it to the employee’s email address at work or to another email address nominated by the employee;
- Sending by email to the employee’s email address at work or to another email address nominated by the employee an electronic link to the page on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website where the Statement is located or an electronic link that takes the employee directly to a copy of the Statement on the employer’s intranet;
- Faxing it to the employee’s fax number at work, fax number at home or another fax number nominated by the employee;
- Another method (an employer will need to ensure this meets the requirement to give the Statement to the employee, e.g. by courier where there is a signed acceptance by the employee of receipt of the Statement).
Whatever method is used to give the Statement to an employee, it is recommended that the employer retain details of how the Statement was given.
Employment of the same employee more than once in 12 months
If the employer employs the same employee more than once in any 12 months and gave the Statement to the employee commencing employment the first time, then there is no requirement to give the Statement more than once in any 12 months.
What happens if the employer fails to give the Statement to a new employee?
Any employer who does not give the Statement to a new employee before, or as soon as possible after the employee starts employment, is contravening the terms of the NES. There are significant penalties for failing to give a Statement to a new employee.