The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Julia Gillard, has launched the Fair Work Education and Information program.
As promised at the last election, the Government will facilitate a targeted education and information program to ensure employees, employers and small businesses understand the new workplace relations system.
The Fair Work Education and Information Program (FWEIP) will provide $12.9m in grants to selected community, employee, employer and small business organisations. 25 organisations have been invited to apply for funding. These bodies have been selected based on their demonstrated expertise in delivering training of this kind and to ensure that major sectors of the economy are catered for.
The grants will be used to provide information and education services to employees, employers and small business operators about the Fair Work Act and how it will affect them.
A recent survey of 300 small businesses found that almost 40 per cent believed they had poor or no understanding of their obligations under the new laws.
The Rudd Government understands that with any change of this scale, there is a need for clear and reliable information so that small businesses, employer organisations and unions are able to understand the changes to ensure minimal disruption.
Unlike the previous Liberal government’s $121 million Work Choices advertising extravaganza, the Fair Work Education and Information Program will be factual, targeted and low cost.
The program will commence shortly with grants available to successful applicants to undertake information and education services until 31 December 2009.
Factual and simple to understand material will be produced by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and this will be available for successful applicants to use in seminars, web based information and targeted consultations as well as being made available to the public through the Fair Work website.
Guidelines have been developed setting out the aim and objectives of the program and reporting requirements. The ‘Fair Work Education and Information Program Guidelines for Applicants’ is available online at www.deewr.gov.au/WorkplaceRelations/newworkplacerelationslaws
Details of successful applicants will be published on the DEEWR website in accordance with the Department of Finance and Deregulation’s Commonwealth Grants Policy Framework.
From 1 July 2009, the new independent industrial umpire, Fair Work Australia will provide a ‘one stop shop’ for education, information and advice on all aspects of the new workplace relations system.
The Rudd Government made every effort to ensure the Fair Work Act was simpler for employers, employees and small business operators to understand and apply in their workplaces.
More information on the changes to the workplace relations system is available at www.deewr.gov.au/WorkplaceRelations.