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Supporting Guidance: Part 5 - Employee Relations

5 Employee Relations

5.1 All arrangements will comply with relevant legislation, this policy and other relevant Australian Government policies.

5.2 The right for an employee to belong to a union will be respected, as will the right for an employee not to belong to a union.

5.3 Agencies should make provision for consultative arrangements with employees (and where employees choose, their representatives) regarding employment and employee relations matters.

5.1 Arrangements to comply with legislation and Government policies

5.1.1 All workplace arrangements must comply with all relevant legislative requirements. Key employment-related legislation affecting APS agencies includes the:

  • Public Service Act 1999;
  • Fair Work Act 2009;
  • Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009;
  • Long Service Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1976;
  • Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973;
  • Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 (and its successor);
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011;
  • Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988; and
  • Privacy Act 1988.

5.1.2 In addition to the above, agencies may also be subject to other agency-specific legislation containing employment-related provisions.

5.2 Freedom of association in the workplace

5.2.1 Agencies should ensure that an employee's legal entitlement to representation in the workplace is respected.

5.2.2 Where an employee elects to be a member of a union, their agency must respect the employee's right to request the union represent them on workplace matters.

5.2.3 Where an employee elects to engage with a union, even where the employee is not a union member, the employee's wish to do so will be respected.

5.2.4 Employees who are not members of a union may not wish to engage with, or receive communications from, a union. Agencies are to ensure that communication arrangements within the agency respect this.

5.3 Consultation with employees

5.3.1 Agencies are encouraged to establish consultative arrangements with employees on employment and workplace relations matters impacting on the workplace, for example, through a regular staff consultative forum. Such consultation should be balanced and not unreasonably favour one group of employees over another.