Employment Lawyers for Australian Executives

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Call 1300 789 302 to speak
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+61 3 9653 9123

17th June 2022

Call 1300 789 302

17th June 2022

  • Fast Facts
  •     How to avoid the 10 most common mistakes made by executives
  •     Employment Contracts
  •     Redundancy Entitlements
  •     Bonus Plans
  •     Wrongful Termination and the Law of Contract
  •     Restraint of Trade Covenants
  •     Deductibility of Legal Expenses
  •     The Fair Work Act 2009 – Unfair Dismissal and Implications for Executives
  • Emergency Checklists
  •     10 things you need to know if you are facing possible wrongful termination
  •     10 Basic rules to follow if you are confronted with a disciplinary meeting
  • Expatriates - Employment Law Issues
  •     Australian employment law and the Fair Work Act 2009
  •     Negotiating an Expatriate Employment Agreement
  • Employment Contract Review

Australian employment law and the Fair Work Act 2009

The Fair Work Act 2009 was a significant milestone in Australian employment law. It created a “one-stop shop” for matters relating to industrial relations within Australia. The Fair Work Commission (FWC) is a national tribunal charged with the responsibility of dispute resolution.

What are the implications of the Fair Work Act 2009 for employment law in Australia?

From it’s inception, the purpose of the legislation was to create a national workplace relations system for private sector employees.

Key components of the system are the National Employment Standards (NES). In addition, Federal Awards are now simplified.

The NES addresses 10 basic standards such as hours, leave entitlements, public holidays etc.

What are the implications of the FWC for Australian executives?

Although these minimum conditions will apply to even the most senior executives, they should nevertheless be regarded as simply that, i.e. minimum conditions. While these minimums are of assistance to executives, they should by no means be regarded as necessarily appropriate (still less ideal) for those at a middle or senior level. This is particularly so as it relates to notice and severance payments.

In other words, although many employers will no doubt seek to portray that they are offering “Fair Work Conditions”, executives should not forget that they can and should attempt to negotiate terms and conditions that are superior to these terms.

Similarly, although the FWC will offer an “independent umpire” in dispute resolution, this is unlikely to be of any assistance to executives in resolving significant contractual disputes with their former employers. Australian common-law courts will remain the venue where such issues will be ultimately contested.

The fact remains that middle to senior level executives in Australia need to continue to be creative as well as assertive when it comes to their terms and conditions of employment. This means that they should not be lulled into a false sense of security in the mistaken belief that they have a “safety net” underneath them, and that they no longer need to be concerned about their contract of employment.

This should actually be a cause for celebration because Australian employment law, based as it is on the law of contract, enables private-sector executives in particular to customise their terms and conditions of employment.

This means that the Executive Employment Contract you ultimately sign should be a reflection of the skill and experience that you bring to the table and effectively form the foundation stone upon which your lifestyle and living standards are built.

By considering the material on this website and taking appropriate and timely legal advice, Australian employment law can be used to your advantage to ensure that you are not left exposed in your dealings with your employer.


See also:

Redundancy in Australia

Negotiating an Australian Executive Employment Contract

Checklist for Negotiating an Expatriate Employment Agreement