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The Fair Work Information Statement and the Casual Employment Information Statement

When starting a new job, employees and HR are often inundated with administration and paperwork which must be prepared or completed. There are certain documents which must be provided to new employees and their importance should not be overlooked.

When starting a new job, employees and HR are often inundated with administration and paperwork which must be prepared or completed. There are certain documents which must be provided to new employees and their importance should not be overlooked.

Fair Work Information Statement

Under section 125 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act), employers must provide each new employee with the Fair Work Information Statement (FWIS).

The FWIS is a document published by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).

The FWIS sets out in a plain language format, a summary of the workplace entitlements which form part of the National Employment Standards (NES).

All employees in the national workplace relations system are covered by the NES. It comprises 11 minimum employment entitlements that must be provided to all employees in Australia. The NES include:

  • maximum weekly hours of work;
  • annual leave and other leave entitlements;
  • right to request flexible working arrangements; and
  • notice of termination and redundancy pay entitlements.

As well as providing information on the NES, the FWIS provides information about employment conditions and rights, including: 

  • awards and enterprise agreements;
  • national minimum wage;
  • what happens in the event of a transfer of business;
  • right to freedom of association;
  • rights of entry; and
  • the roles of the FWO and Fair Work Commission (FWC).

The FWIS must be provided to all new employees before, or as soon as possible after, they start their new job.

Casual Employment Information Statement

Following the introduction of the casual conversion amendments to the FW Act, employers are now also required under section 125B to provide new casual employees with the Casual Employee Information Statement (CEIS).

The CEIS is also published by the FWO and sets out the rights of casual employees, specifically rights around casual conversion.

The CEIS includes information about:

  • the definition of a casual employee;
  • when an employer does and does not have to offer casual conversion;
  • when a casual employee can request conversion; and
  • the roles of the FWO and FWC.

Employers of new casual employees, must give the casual employee copies of both the FWIS and CEIS before, or as soon as possible after, they start.

Failure to comply

Under section 44 of the FW Act, an employer must not contravene a provision of the NES.

This means that a failure to provide employees with the FWIS or CEIS (where relevant) will be a contravention of the NES which attracts a financial penalty imposed by the Court. At present, the maximum penalties for each contravention of a civil remedy provision is $13,320 for an individual or $66,600 for a company.  

In Directors, Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v Foxville Projects Group Pty Ltd [2015] FCA 492, the employer was fined $20,000 for failing to provide a FWIS to employees. In setting the penalty, Justice Flick noted the importance of the FWIS and providing the FWIS to those workers who are more vulnerable, such as those who do not speak fluent English.  In particular, Justice Flick noted that the requirement under the Act to provide the FWIS served to ensure that employees were informed of their rights.

Lessons for employers

Employers must provide the FWIS to all employees as well as the CEIS to any new casual employees. Employers should also ensure they provide the most recent versions of the FWIS and CEIS, as they are updated from time to time.

To limit the possibility of contravening this obligation, we suggest that employers attach the FWIS and CEIS (if applicable) to the offer of employment. Alternatively, the compliance can be achieved by sending the documents by email to the employee, sending a link to the FWO website by email or even uploading the FWIS or CEIS to the employer’s own intranet and emailing the employee with a direct link to the intranet.

The FWIS and the CEIS do not need to be provided more than once in a 12-month period. This is relevant if the employer employs the same employee more than once within a 12-month period.

 

Information provided in this blog is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Workplace Law does not accept liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the content of this blog, or from links on this website to any external website. Where applicable, liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

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