Industrial relations systems are in place to ensure that employees and employers have a fair work environment. The national industrial relations system applies to most businesses and organisatons. It includes National Employment Standards, Enterprise agreements and awards all governed by the Fair Work Act 2009.
The Act also prescribes lawful and unlawful terms in your common law contracts for example in regard to pay secrecy terms and fixed term contracts.
Effective industrial relations don’t happen by accident. It requires a strategic approach to planning, execution and operational implementation to ensure that employees and employers to create a well-functioning, positive relationship.
The team at IRiQ Law are experts in ensuring your business has an effective industrial relations strategy that is aligned with your business goals. We assist in industrial relations framework design, planning, execution, operational support and positioning your business for the future. Additionally, our team of experts are available on-call when you require expertise from an employer lawyer. We can assist and guide your staff in difficult situations which increases their skills and lowers your costs.
An enterprise agreement is the result of negotiations between an employer, employees and their representatives to determine terms and conditions of employment that sit above the National Employment Standards and meet a better off overall test against the underpinning Award.
Enterprise Bargaining is a critical process that determines the working conditions, pay rates, and other employment terms and conditions of a group of employees. It is a complex negotiation that requires careful planning, strategy and consideration of various legal and procedural requirements, as well as effective communication and bargaining skills.
For many organisations, the process can be challenging, and may involve pitfalls that require an experienced practitioner to safely navigate. At IRiQ we partner with, advise and guide organisations, adding the depth of our experience and expertise to executive and management teams in a wholistic way to achive the best outcomes from the Enterprise Agreement making process.
Here are some key reasons why having an experienced partner like IRiQ on your team can maximise the return on your Enterprise Bargaining:
- Expertise in the EBA process: The IRiQ Law team bring extensive knowledge of the EBA process, including the relevant laws and regulations, bargaining procedures, and best practices. We can help your organisation navigate the process, ensure compliance, and achieve strategic outcomes.
- Neutral and impartial perspective: We provide a neutral and impartial perspective on the bargaining process. This ensures that both the employer and the employees are treated fairly and that the agreement reflects the needs and interests of both parties.
- Improved communication: Communication is a crucial part of the EBA process. The IRiQ Law team will develop a bespoke communication strategy for your organisation, designed to ensure all aspects of the process are well thought out and considered before the first communication is even sent. Our communication strategy is designed to clarify issues, manage expectations, and ensure that both parties understand each other’s position at all times in the negotiation. Not only does this create efficiencies that minimise cost, it also delivers predicable outcomes and certainty for organisations.
- Save time and resources: The agreement making process can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. Engaging IRiQ Law will streamline the process, saving time and resources for your organisation. We can ensure that negotiations are efficient and productive and that any disputes are resolved quickly and effectively.
- Avoid potential legal disputes: The process of enterprise bargaining can become contentious, with much at stake for each party. This creates a risk of disputes arising that can lead to costly legal battles. IRiQ Law ensure that the agreement complies with legal requirements and focus on dispute resolution through negotiation and mediation.
Single interest multi-employer agreements are agreements that apply to more than one employer and their employees. They typically exist in industries with similar large companies that provide similar services. Single Interest Multi-employer bargaining is a new form of Agreements created by the latest legislative changes. There are specific new rules around Single Interest Multi-employer bargaining and how you can be roped in. We strongly advise our clients to examine their circumstances to determine if they meet the criteria and to understand the pros and cons of heading down this path. You should have a view whether this is something for you. The assistance of an experienced and trusted workplace relations lawyer can take the stress out of navigating the multi-employer bargaining process.
You’ve invested the time, money and energy into bargaining for a new Enterprise Agreement. So, when it is time for your employees to vote to either approve, or not approve a proposed Enterprise Agreement, you’ll want to conduct the ballot in a manner that is most likely to lead to a successful outcome. Successful ballots have two key features, they’re well communicated and simple to participate in.
That is not as simple as it sounds. Enterprise Agreement ballots must be certified and conducted in accordance with strict legal rules. In the event of a challenge, or enquiries from the Fair Work Commission the results must meet strict evidentiary requirements.
IRiQ Law conducts Enterprise Agreement ballots using our proprietary software BLOTS, designed and developed by IR lawyers. We recommend our clients use BLOTS because it provides a balloting platform that employers can rely on to be simple enough to participate in and rigorous enough to withstand challenge.
Employers know they must comply with wage and entitlement standards set by Industrial Instruments and the Fair Work Act. However as Industrial Instruments become more complex, even the most minor payroll errors (however inadvertent) can become a massive problem.
Apart from the remediation bill, which can really add up, underpayment of wages and entitlements exposes organisations and their directors and officers to severe fines and penalties. In some jurisdictions, wage underpayments also attract criminal sanctions.
Payroll Audits are done to identify systemic issues in payroll processes and ensure that any issues identified are rectified, and any underpayment remediated. The need for a payroll audit may arise from an identified error or may be part of a broader risk management strategy.
Because of the risk of serious civil and criminal penalties, IRiQ Law recommend that Payroll Audits be done as part of a boarder legal compliance enquiry, conducted under legal professional privilege to preserve the confidentiality of the result.
IRiQ Law takes a multi-disciplinary approach to payroll compliance. We have developed a propriety system called IRPAY, which leverages technology and data analytics with our IR and legal expertise. The result is a wholistic solution to payroll audit and remediation and risk management for organisations, directors and officers.
When allegations of misconduct in the workplace are made, or information about misconduct comes to light, organisations must act. Action may be necessitated by law for example to meet obligations under the ‘Respect at Work’ reforms, or the WHS duty to manage psychosocial risk in the workplace, or by internal workplace policies.
In some cases, it will be necessary for an organisation to seek legal advice and appoint an independent external workplace investigator to obtain relevant information and make factual. findings.
When conducting workplace investigations, the team at IRiQ Law bring to bear their years of practical experience and legal expertise, whether for the purpose of providing legal advice or making factual findings to inform management action.
Sometimes you know you’ve got a thorny issue but need direction to find a way through. Sometimes, all you need is to pick up the phone, or send a draft document for review.
We understand that you want to reach out to your lawyer, but you don’t always need the full service. We also understand that prevention is better than cure, and that sometimes those phone calls can help you avoid landmines.
IRiQ Law offer an Employer Advice Line retainer, with access to legal advice and resources when you need them.
We pride ourselves on our reputation for not only being responsive, but providing commercial legal advice that makes sense. When you consult the IRiQ Law team for assistance, you walk away with a plan of action and the confidence to implement.
Employment and Industrial Relations litigation occurs in a very broad range of jurisdictions, from the Federal Court and Fair Work Commission to State Courts and tribunals.
Depending on the jurisdiction, important legal and strategic decisions made in the early stages of litigation can make an important difference to litigation outcomes.
We recommend seeking advice early in relation to any employment and industrial relations litigation matters, and appointing a litigation team that gives you confidence.
The team at IRiQ Law have decades of litigation experience. We pride ourselves on finding the most strategic way to advance our client’s interests and mitigate litigation risks as far as possible.
Disputes can arise at any stage of the employment relationship, whether in relation to matters arising under an Award or EA, proposed management action or the exercise of privileges such as ‘right of entry’.
The team at IRiQ Law assist employers to identify the most strategic pathway for resolution of disputes, and navigate the dispute resolution process, which may include negotiation, mediation or arbitration in the Fair Work Commission.
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