From 1 July 2024 all Awards have been updated to include a Workplace Delegates Rights term that enumerates the rights, payments and conditions that appointed union workplace delegates.  Enterprise Agreements (EBAs) will also be read as if they have had a Workplace Delegates Rights term included from 1 July 2024.  The requirements are detailed and specific and all employers should familiarise themselves with these changes now.

A Workplace Delegate is a worker who is appointed by their employee organisation (union) as a representative/delegate at the workplace.

In order to access the Workplace Delegate Rights the employee must provide notice to the business in writing that they have been appointed, by their union, as a workplace delegate, and if they are asked by the employer the workplace delegate must provide evidence of the appointment.

When an employee no longer holds the appointment as a workplace delegate they must provide written notice of the removal to the business within 14 days.

A workplace delegate may represent the industrial interests of eligible employees who wish to be represented by the workplace delegate in matters including:

  • consultation about major workplace change;
  • consultation about changes to rosters or hours of work;
  • resolution of disputes;
  • disciplinary processes;
  • enterprise bargaining where the workplace delegate has been appointed as a bargaining representative under section 176 of the Act or is assisting the delegate’s organisation with enterprise bargaining; and
  • any process or procedure within an award, enterprise agreement or policy of the employer under which eligible employees are entitled to be represented and which concerns their industrial interests.

The clause confers specific rights on the workplace delegate including:

  • entitlement to reasonable communication: the delegate may communicate with eligible employees during work hours, breaks, or before or after work, for the purpose of representing their industrial interests.

 

  • entitlement to reasonable access to the workplace and workplace facilities: the employer must provide the delegate with access to or use of the following facilities at the workplace (unless the workplace does not have the facility, or it is impractical to provide access to the facility at the time sought, or the employer is unable to provide access at the relevant site on taking reasonable steps to do so):
    • a room or area to hold discussions that is fit for purpose, private and accessible by the delegate and employees;
    • a physical or electronic noticeboard;
    • electronic means of communication that is ordinarily used in the workplace, including wifi access;
    • a lockable filing cabinet or other secure document storage area; and
    • office facilities and equipment including printers, scanners and photocopiers.

 

  • entitlement to reasonable access to training*: the employer (other than a small business employer) must provide the delegate with 5 days of paid time during normal working hours for initial training, and 1 day each subsequent year to attend training. This entitlement is capped at 1 delegate per 50 eligible employees.

*paid training does not apply to small businesses

Where the facilities are not available at the workplace, the employer does not have access to the facilities, or due to operational requirements it is impractical to provide access to requested facilities,  the employer is not required to provide access to the facility.

The employer is not required to provide contact details for any employees or eligible employees.

In exercising any of the above rights, the delegate must comply with their duties and obligations as an employee, the reasonable policies and procedures of the employer, and not hinder, obstruct or prevent the normal performance of work or employees from exercising their rights to freedom of association.

There are notice requriements for the Workplace Delegates including;

  • written notice of appointment as a Workplace Delegate (including evidence if requested)
  • 5 weeks notice of training leave
  • evidence of training within 7 days of training date
  • written notice of removal as a Workplace Delegate (within 14 days)

The changes mean that employers must not:

  • unreasonably fail or refuse to deal with a workplace delegate;
  • knowingly or recklessly make a false or misleading representation to a workplace delegate; or
  • unreasonably hinder, obstruct or prevent the exercise of the rights of a workplace delegate under the Act or the new award clause.

These changes are in place now.

Here to help

ACAPMA members are reminded that they can access the advice support resources and representation of the ACAPMA Employment Professionals on this issue, or indeed any other employment issue, via employment@acapma.com.au.

HR Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general advice and you should seek further advice on your situation by contacting the ACAPMA Employment Professionals via employment@acapma.co.au  its free for members. Click here to apply for ACAPMA Membership.

ACAPMA

SHARE THIS ARTICLE: