The Minister for Employment & Workplace Relations, Julia Gillard is pleased that the use of Individual Flexibility Agreements in enterprise bargaining under the new Fair Work regime is delivering for Australian employers and employees.
Analysis of the Individual Flexibility Arrangements (IFA) contained in the first 81 enterprise agreements lodged show that most have utilised the model clause provided in the Fair Work Act.
75 per cent of all agreements lodged since 1 July 2009 contain the model clause which allows employers and employees to vary arrangements with regard to when work is performed; overtime rates; penalty rates; allowances and leave loading.
A further 5 per cent utilise the model clause but omit leave loading as one of the terms that can be varied.
20 per cent of agreements lodged since 1 July use a clause that is different from the model clause.
For instance, at CSR Ltd Fibre Cement and Brunel Technical Services Pty Ltd an Individual Flexibility Arrangement can vary any term of the agreement. Others allow Individual Flexibility Clauses to vary only named clauses, like rostered days off.
Under the Howard Government’s extreme Work Choices laws, employers could offer take-it or leave-it Australian Workplace Agreements which stripped away basic wages and conditions.
This week, the Opposition lead by Mr Turnbull failed to rule out the re-introduction of individual statutory agreements that undercut basic entitlements like redundancy pay.
Fair Work, in complete contrast to Work Choices, allows for Individual Flexibility Arrangements (IFA) which ensure that employees are always better off overall against the underlying award or enterprise agreement.
Individual Flexibility Arrangements are not individual statutory agreements.
Individual Flexibility Arrangements must be genuinely agreed, be in writing and signed, and can be terminated with 28 days notice at any time by either party if it no longer suits them.
The Fair Work Act provides a model clause for enterprise agreements but it is expected that employers and employees will agree on arrangements, including family friendly arrangements, which best suit them and their workplace.