This chapter focuses on the rights, entitlements and obligations of employees in Victoria. These derive from a wide range of sources, including statutes, awards, collective agreements, individual agreements and the (1) The system of law developed by the English courts through precedent and adopted in ‘common law countries’ in the British Commonwealth (as opposed to Roman law (civil law) or ecclesiastical law). (2) The case law made by judges in that system. (3) Case law that is not part of the law of equity. (4) Historically, the rules of law common to all people in England, as distinct from local or customary laws..
This chapter covers a range of topics related to employment conditions, with a particular focus on:
- the common law employment An agreement that the law will enforce.;
- workplace agreements and awards under the Fair Work A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation. 2009 (Cth) and other Statutory rules made by parliament or by bodies the parliament delegates power to, for example a local council or a registration authority. See delegated legislation; statute.; and
- Found in a statute of delegated legislation. For example, a statutory authority or body is aperson or organisation that has special powers given by parliament to do work for the public benefit. and common law terms of employment.
This chapter covers The end of something. Contracts terminate when the parties have done what they agreed. A contract can also be terminated without being completed, for example if one party breaks the contract, or it is impossible to carry out. of employment, enforcement of entitlements, and bullying at work.
Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
The most significant A law made by parliament, either state or Commonwealth. Also called an Act, and Act of parliament or legislation. affecting employment conditions in Australia is the federal Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (‘FW Act’).
This Act (among other things):
- sets out most of the rights and duties of employees and employers;
- sets out the procedure for the An approach to dispute resolution where both parties discuss the matter in dispute between them, with the aim of reaching a settlement through a consensus, compromise or agreement. See ADR (alternative dispute resolution); arbitration; conciliation; mediation. and certification of federal agreements; and
- governs the affairs of federally registered unions (together with other legislation).
Relationship between statutes, awards, enterprise agreements and common law contracts
The terms and conditions of employment contained in legislation, awards or enterprise agreements are generally the minimum terms and conditions. This means that parties can agree by common law contract to, for example, pay more than the minimum for an entitlement.
A common law contract of employment cannot provide for less beneficial terms than those contained in a statute, (1) A standard set of working conditions, including pay rates, for a particular industry. (2) A court decision that a party receive compensation, such as an award of damages to compensate them for physical injuries. or enterprise agreement. The employer must provide the employee with at least every minimum term or condition in the statute, award or statutory agreement.
Contracts, awards and enterprise agreement terms and conditions exist side-by-side, with an employee being entitled to the most beneficial terms that apply.
Most Australian states have retained their own workplace legislation for state public sector and local government employees.
However, the Victorian Government has referred its power to deal with industrial matters to the federal parliament via the Commonwealth Powers (Industrial Relations) Act 1996 (Vic). The Victorian Government referred the power necessary for the FW Act to cover all private and public sector employees and employers in Victoria.
Other legislation that affects working conditions in Victoria includes the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984, Racial Discrimination Act 1975, Disability Discrimination Act 1992, and the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 2010, Long Formal delivery of legal documents to a person to tell them there are court proceedings against them which they must defend, or to make sure a witness in a case knows when they have to go to court to give evidence. Leave Act 2018, Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.