Insights from practitioners in Information Management

Issue 79 – Changing the way we work

In this issue we will look at:

  • Changing the way we work – 457 visas
  • Fair Work Act
  • A Thought to ponder

Changing the way we work – 457 visas
On September 14 2009 changes to the 457 visas and other temporary visa arrangements took effect with the introduction of the Migration Legislation Amendment (Worker Protection) Act 2008 (Cth). This of course affects not only companies in Australia hoping to bring workers into the country, but of course people who want to come to Australia to work.

The changes to the legislation include:

  • Pay rates
  • Introduction of new obligations and sanctions
  • Training standards – this impacts new sponsorships as well as renewal of an existing sponsorships.

Australia seems to have weathered the economic down turn slightly better than expected and is already gearing up with several massive projects in the mining and resources sector – and it won’t be long before they start crying out for workers again. But with the changes to the 457 visas – employers may need to be start looking at the changes now so they can be ready to take advantage of a global workforce who are ready and willing to work – wherever that work happens to be.

Fair Work Act
There are a number of significant changes to employment law on the 1st January 2010. These are as follows:

From 1 January 2010, a Fair Work Information Statement is to be provided to all new employees by their employer as soon as possible after the commencement of employment. The Statement provides basic information on matters that will affect your employment. This can be obtained from

Individual Agreements:
Employers may continue to create new Individual Transitional Employment Agreements or “ITEAs” until the 31st December 2009, which means of course they are not allowed after the 1st Jan 2010.

National Employment Standards
The Fair Work Act 2009 provides you with a safety net of minimum terms and conditions of employment through the National Employment Standards (NES). There are 10 minimum workplace entitlements in the NES:

  • A maximum standard working week of 38 hours for full-time employees, plus ‘reasonable’ additional hours.
  • A right to request flexible working arrangements to care for a child under school age, or a child (under 18) with a disability.
  • Parental and adoption leave of 12 months (unpaid), with a right to request an additional 12 months.
  • our weeks paid annual leave each year (pro rata).
  • Ten days paid personal/carer’s leave each year (pro rata), two days paid compassionate leave for each permissible occasion, and two days unpaid carer’s leave for each permissible occasion.
  • Community service leave for jury service or activities dealing with certain emergencies or natural disasters. This leave is unpaid except for jury service.
  • Long service leave.
  • Public holidays and the entitlement to be paid for ordinary hours on those days.
  • Notice of termination and redundancy pay.
  • The right for new employees to receive the Fair Work Information Statement.

Modern Awards:

Modern Awards will replace most existing state and federal awards when they commence operation on the 1st Jan 2010. These new awards are industry specific and are based on the 10 new National Employment Standards.

Obviously these are not the only changes being made under the Fair Work Act. As an employment agency, we have a duty of care to bout our contract employees and our host employers and as soon as we know how these changes will impact on everyone, we will of course let you know.

Which just leaves me to say, everyone at Information Enterprises Australia wishes you a wonderful, safe, happy and restful Christmas and New Year and we look forward to speaking with you in the New Year.

With many thoughts