Critical Analysis Of Employee Relations And Amendments By Fair Work Commission Assessment Answer

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Question :

Write a report to the Unit Coordinator critiquing the employment relations issues that arise from the February 2017 decision of the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission with respect to the 4 yearly review of modern awards – Penalty Rates

Word Length: 2000-2500 words

Assessment Criteria

Depth of knowledge and critical analysis of the topic

Appropriateness of responses to the topic question

Relevant and accurate literature

Essay has clear introduction, main body & conclusion. Clarity of expression/grammar and spelling

Correct referencing style

Appropriate word length relevant to the topic.

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Answer :



The report is based on critical analysis of the employee relations issues discussed and the amendment made by Fair Work Commissions as a part of Australian industrial relations acts and regulations. In this study, critical argument and analysis have been made over employee relation issues presented by the Fair Work Commission in 2017 and its significant updates made by the commission in the year of 2018. In this discussion, the different working commission law is highlighted in regards to discuss a strategic application to strengthen employee relations. 

4 Yearly reviews of modern awards: Fair Work Commission

The modern awards are legal documents about minimal employment pay rates; there are about 100 corporate and occupational awards. In relation to creating national workplace relations system, the Australian industrial relation commission has introduced different reforms in regards to cover and protect employee's benefits and relations in Australia (Matthews, 2018). The modern awards which are reviewed in every 4 years include minimum wages and piecework rates, casuals and part-time loadings, public holidays including Saturday and Sunday working and non-working rewards for the employees in the corporate operating in Australia. As per fair work commissions, the employee relations are defined through commonly introduces wards such as pay scale, working hours, rosters, breaks, allowances, penalty rates and overtime. The norms introduced and reviews by the Australian fair work commission which usually effects and impacts on the employee relations both positive and negative manner, some of the norms are favourable and some of them are not favoured as per the employees perspective (FWCFB 1044.,2019).  

Critical analysis of Fair work commissions 2017 and 2019 on employee relations issues

According to section156, Fair Work Commission 2017 there are different employee relation issues been highlighted with different award stages. 122 awards have been grouped in 4 Full Bench, within which the 1, 2 and 3rdgroup are facing issues of technical errors. There are different employee relation issues highlighted such as annual leave, annualized salary, blood donate leave, casual employment leave and other employee relation issues (About modern awards., 2019). Within these common issues, the commission has proposed that redrafting awards with the implication plain language, the purpose of this amendment has been to introduce an easy language for understanding the employer and employee relationship. Douglas & Watt, (2018) has agreed introduce of  an easy language help the employee's relation to developing, as team members will be able to communicate and understand the employer's demands and could input more in their performance. According to the Fair Work commission 2017, there has been review made overt the national training wage scheduling including drafting of the plain language system in the commission reviews. The national employee training, the payment has estimated to be increased for participation in training sessions for the employees. An apprentice payment rate has been introduced whose could be receivable by the employees after completion of the training sessions. Capuano (2016) has argued that the changes in the national training schedules might reduce the moral values of the employees, as individuals might not agree to participate in series of working under training program for free. This might make an impact on the employee and employer relations once the candidate is selected for the job after completing their training. In the year of 2017, the 4-year annual amendment of fair work commission bill has been proposed to be cancelled for conducting modern award amendments. However, as per Fear work commission, 2019 has highlighted that modern enterprise and state public sector awards to be reviewed following to the amendment schedule made by the Fair Work Commission (Ross AO, 2016). Thus, it could be observed that review of the employee relations issues awards have been made shifting from core analysis and review to categorical review process as per the commission proposed in the present year of 2019. It could be beneficial for the corporate world to a categorized review of the employee’s relations, leaves, payment scales, wages and salaries issues as per the norms and standards of corporations working in each sector. This might help the corporations working in public and private sectors to recognise the basic employee relations awards and issues to be introduced and adopted in the workplace. The 2017 Fair work commission 4 yearly reviews have introduced common awards, documents and employability norms, which has introduced confusing factors which might not be matched with the organisationalnorms (Annual Wage Review 2017-18., 2019). The employee relations might be focused and organisational centric with the development of a new review of the Fair Work Commission and cancellation of 4 yearly reviews made by the commissions earlier.

In relation to introducing accessibility and fairness, the Commission introduced decision as per yearly reviews in 2017 includes national minimum wage analysis and review in order to regulate and revise the national wage system for the employees.  It has observed that National minimum wage rates are introduced and applied for about 2.3 million Australian employees who are depended over these wage rates. From the analysis, 22.7% of employees from 2.3 million have pay scale set as per regulations of May 2016 (Fair work commission decision., 2019). It has been mentioned that rapid changes and development of the economy, living standards and situation of the labour market require a low rate of wages with equal remunerations and collective bargaining options. There have been changes in the national wage rate system, employees relations might get affected by low pay wages, it has observed that employment and labour market might reduce interests over their work as the pay scale might be lower in comparison to their contribution, handwork and time given to the specific public or private sectors in the market.However, in the year of 2018, there has been an amendment made by the Fair Work Commission on national minimum wage decision and approach provided. In the present year, the national minimum wage has been evaluated $719.20 which has been increased in coumarone to 2017 national minimum wage of $694.90 per week (Matthews, 2018). This means per hour the employees or workers in public and private sector earns $18.93 which has higher in compare to 2017 minimal national wage reported $18.29. As per critics, the confidence and interests of weeks as per present amendments by Fair work commission will be increased with the increase in minimal working wage rates. It has anticipated that the labour market demands and supply might get positive affects and reviews over certain changes and amendments made by the organisation. However, Stewart, (2011) has criticised that increase in the wage rates turnover for the organisations operating in the private sectors. It has observed that the increase in benefits for employees in the form of wages and salaries has ability to improve their performance, although out pressure over the cost of product and increase business expenditure outing pressure over cash outflow and net profit margin of the companies. 

According to the fair work commission, 2017 session, the weekend and public holiday penalty rate decision have been taken by the commission for retail hospitality, fast food and pharmacy industries operating in Australia. As per the decision,Sunday penalty rates have been decided to be minimized by 150% for the full-time employee and 175% for the part-time employees of the organisation. In case of fast food retail chains, the working also carried out on Sunday. Thus the rate of penalties has been reduced to 125% for level 1 employees for full time and 175% to 150% for part-time employees (Fair Work Commission makes changes to penalty rates., 2019). However, no such changes are made for level 2 and level 3 employees. As per the Victorian government, the penalty rate reviews require to be revised and introduced in the particular commission of 2017 of Fair Work law. On the contrary, the federal government of the country has opposed saying that the panel of Fair working commission focuses on the impact of the issue of penalty rates on employees and on the economical; conditions of the country as the employability incomer states the total earnings an income of workers in the country so as gross domestic income for the country as well (Matthews, 2018). It has been criticised that increased penalty rates enhance barriers over in hand pay for the workers, which might be an issue for the workers to continue their daily needs and wants. The penalties rates are imposed in pays scale deduction of the rate provides a valuation of final in hand payment to the employees working in the public and private sectors. Thus, it has critically observed that the increase in penalty course of actions might be affected income power and income source for the employees working in the country. For a specific class of employees, minimal national wage requires to be introduced as per the South Australian Government in the Fair Work Commissions.  It has made criticism over the development of penalty rates might reduce the payment scale, although increase productivity and working process for the employees in the course of earning well to avoid impacts such cut from their payments (Douglas & Watt, 2018).  In the year of 2019, the Fair Working Commission has ruled out the decision over penalty rates over Sunday required to be revised and reviewed as a new approach and purpose to be delivered for the working individuals.  This new rates will be applied in hospitality, fast food, pharmacy and retail that demonstrates, penalty rates are proposed to fall or reduced by 25%. In the recent statements of Fair Work Commission, the penalty rates of Sunday working is not able to meet the wordier ward objectives, in addition, the corporations have been overcompensating the employees based on norms of penalty rates in 2017. The change of decision making has affected the employee relations, as employees would be more prone to their work and employers are able to direct and coordinate with them properly (Ross AO, 2016)

The Australian Education Union and United Voice have made the application and appeal towards revising and presentation of equal remuneration norm under the Fair Work Commission in the year of 2017.  The Union has been focused on applying for equal remunerations for the workers providing their contribution and a long time in working in public and private firms. As per the observation, the increased remuneration system for the works introduces fairness and accessibility to use the skills and knowledge of workers in regards to increasing production system of the public and private sectors. The criticism has made about the development of remuneration are related to the risks of labour market shifts as higher remuneration provides might have a higher number of working aspirants to work for an organisation. This observes a possible misbalancebetween demand and supply of the labour market (FWCFB 1044., 2019). In the present year of 2019, it has observed that there might be changes in the remuneration formation and charges as the focused might be more over the performance \centric for the workers. Thus, it has observed that remuneration will be introduced for the labour market according to their performance and construction. If there is productivity which is beneficial for the sector income and national income, the remuneration will be endowed to the employees or works for their hard work and contribution. The criticisms state that it is necessary to introduce proper remuneration norms, as per performance and feedback, thus pushes employee relations in a more positive direction. The increase in communication and coordination might be highly possible to learn the performance process by the about to earn higher remuneration for the specific sector or managerial group (Annual Wage Review 2017-18., 2019). Thus, the development of remuneration proposedless than 2019 has a more compact and positive affect and solutions towards boosting the employee relations in compare to the Fair Work Commission equal remuneration proposed in 2017. 


Some of the basic recommendation has been evaluated as following:

  • The regulations might be focused on increasing coordination and cooperation within the team members through providing and equal opportunity to gain penalty rate leaves. 
  • The Fair Work Commission might also focus over the corporate taxation charges which highly effects the basic payable amount for the employees, which sometime de-motivate them..    
  • The introduction of information on possible bonuses and remunerations might also be part of the commission, so that employees might be able to get equalised options which boost their performance level 
  • The commission might also include basic discussion and advisory over employee handling, employee retention and satisfaction which could be shared woth corporate operating in Australia. 


The report states there has been a lot of changes made in the Fair Working Commission over employees relations issues including remuneration., wages income, penalty rates and brief discussion made over laws and other employability issues that has been applied for Australian business entities. In the particular report, it has observed that the revision and amendment made over 2019 Fair WorkingCommissionhas focused over the better imposition of employability law regulation and standards to provide growth in both ends of employees relationship and national income whichtogether boost national income for Australasia. Reborn?. Journal of Industrial Relations53(5), 563-577.