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Employment practices example


Researchers looking at employment practices have utilized various typologies of styles of employee relations to recognize the extent to which there are managerial alternatives when it comes to how manager-worker relationships are to be shaped. The management styles of employee relations vary in the extent to which they emphasize direct relationships with employees as individuals or relationships with collective groups of employee (Watson 2003). All kinds of organizations expect that their employees will perform at their best and provide assistance in obtaining the company’s goal. Once the staff does not meet the expectations of the businesses, a decision must be made on whether the staff should remain or be removed from the company.  To minimize the risk of turnover the firm needs to establish a good relationship with the personnel. The firm needs to ensure that the personnel have the chance to air their grievances with any other member of the organization.  The personnel need to have an idea why they should try to help the company in achieving growth. Employment entails having a good relationship between the employer and the employee. Employment has not ensured that a good relationship will be created with all kinds of people. The concept of Employment relations has met various changes; one of these changes is the introduction of policies such as Work Choices and Forward with Fairness industrial relations policies. This paper intends to compare Work Choices and Forward with Fairness industrial relations policies. The paper intends to introduce the workforce changes that have been created by the Work Choices and Forward with Fairness industrial relations policies.

Work choices / Workplace relations amendment act of 2005

During their intermittent periods in office at the federal level, Labor governments made significant changes in the economic management of the nation and were more sympathetic to union interests than their conservative counterparts (Bamber, Lansbury & Wailes, 2004). Australia had a Labor government in office from 1983 to 1996. It was the longest-serving Labor government at a national level in Australia's history. Since 1996 this has had an increasingly significant impact on employment relations legislation, with moves by the Coalition government to extend federal control over industrial relations though powers held under the Constitution to regulate corporations. Since the late 1980s there have been major changes to the Australian arbitration system. In 1988 the Labor government replaced the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904 with the Industrial Relations Act 1988. The name of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission was changed to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC), but its function remained largely the same. However, the new Act was similar in approach in many ways to its predecessor (Bamber, Lansbury & Wailes, 2004).


The main policy changes in the Act included: a reduction in the role and importance of awards, which would be limited to an enforceable safety net of minimum wages and conditions; new arrangements for enterprise bargaining, which included individual agreements without union intervention; and removal of restrictions on the use of particular types of labor and hours of work. Although the minor parties holding the balance of power in the Senate forced a number of amendments to the government's original Bill, the principal reforms were retained in the new Act (Elder 2007). The workplace relations act has been amended and is now known as Workplace Relations Amendment Act 2005 or Work Choices This act came into effect in March 2006. The Work Choices amendment was made to improve employment levels of businesses and the economic performance of Australia. The government attempted to achieve this by altering unfair dismissal laws, making it possible for the employees to submit agreements that are certified directly to Workplace Authority rather than going through the Australian Industrial Relations Commission and removing the concept of no disadvantage test. Prior to the implementation of Work Choices, unfair dismissal protections existed through industrial relation commissions. The changes to dismissal laws as part of Work Choices reduced the protections of previous unfair dismissal laws On the other hand the Work choices amendment made it difficult for the personnel to conduct strikes; the amendments also disallowed the workplace agreements clauses which allow trade unions. The Work Choices legislation was criticized by some because they believed that it created additional regulation. The critics are usually those who support deregulation of the labor market; their support to the labor market extends to employees and the personnel just simply form personnel contracts and then fix any disputes via the courts. Critics claimed that work choices is too long and usually leads to red tape or corruption. They believe that it was only all about regulation and focused only on command and control

Forward with fairness

Responsibility for regulation of wage-setting and workplace relations in Australia is shared between federal and state governments (Dowrick, Hassan & Mcallister, 2003). The role of government in wage setting and the workplace is multidimensional. One area is regulation of minimum wages and working conditions. This derives partly from the awards/agreements system, whereby agreements between employers and workers specify minimum wages and conditions, and partly from legislation; for example, on unfair dismissals. A second area is determining the locus of bargaining, and the role for third parties. The locus of bargaining is the level at which bargaining takes place; for example, economy, industry or firm level. Government legislation can specify the scope of agreements that can be made between workers and employers, or the requirements for agreements made at different levels. Government also determines the role of third-party institutions in wage-setting; for example, whether such a party exists, its formal structure, and its role. A third area is influence on the role of trade unions. Government regulation can affect the costs and benefits of collective organization (Dowrick, Hassan & Mcallister, 2003).


There can be little doubt that the social landscape facing sociologists of work and employment in Australia has changed rapidly over the past fifteen to twenty years. However, understanding exactly what changes have occurred and how people have experienced them are difficult matters that have occupied the attention of Australian sociologists of work and employment. The Australian experience has unique elements, most obviously those arising from the dominance of the semi-judicial award system that shaped Australian industrial relations for much of the twentieth century, but also in the exact pattern and timing of other changes. Closely related to changes in the Australian experience of work associated with new technologies and workplace re organization have been major changes in the labor market as an institution and in the industrial-relations system (Dawkins & Kelly 2003). Australia and its labor relations did not achieve satisfaction with the Work choices amendment. The lawmakers of the country proposed a new act named forward with fairness. This act is still on its initial implementation on the country. Forward with fairness wants to establish an industrial relation system that will focus on the concept of simplicity and fairness that result to more productivity. Forward with fairness act will force employers to sit at the negotiation table to talk about the employee's welfare. Forward with fairness act will make it easier for businesses and their personnel to understand the rights they have. Through this they can make use of all their rights at work. Forward with fairness act will make sure that employees and the management have an idea of their obligations at work.  The act will make sure that people would be properly informed and will be given guidance on some situations. The act will make sure that it can solve disputes in the firm. It will make sure that disputes will be solved immediately. Moreover the act will be constantly inspected to see if it still responds to the needs of the environment. There will be an independent court that will resolve issues regarding the act; the court would be operating according to Australia's constitution.

Similarity between Forward with fairness and work choices

A key element of the Workplace Relations Act was the introduction of Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs), which enabled employers to enter into individual non-union contracts with their employees. The AIRC was restricted by the Workplace Relations Act from becoming involved in attempting to resolve the dispute by conciliation. Although the intention of the Workplace Relations Act was to remove the role of third parties, this dispute saw a greater use of the courts than has usually been the case (Peetz 2009). The Workplace Relations Act has further decentralized wage determination in Australia. The Workplace Relations Act retained the award stream and the mechanism of safety net adjustments but reduced the ability of the AIRC to vet outcomes of non-union enterprise agreements which are a new non-union individual stream of wage bargaining (Germov & Poole 2007). The main similarity between forward with fairness and work choices is its goal to improve the industrial relations in the country. Both forward with fairness and work choices aims to reduce the disputes between the employees and employers of Australia. Another similarity between the forward with fairness and work choices is their goal to help the economy of Australia to rise. Both policies wants to make sure that with dispute free workplace comes a better business and eventually a better economy for the country. Moreover both forward with fairness and work choices are designed to give the employees and employers some guidance in their daily performance. Both forward with fairness and work choices policies give guidelines on how a person in the workplace should respond to situations.

Differences between Forward with fairness and work choices

Perhaps the current sense of fragmentation in Australian literature on the sociology of work and employment is an important sign of its maturity. It reflects the fact that there is no single key to understanding contemporary workplace experience and change: the forces generating change and the perspectives from which it can be viewed are disparate. However, this need not lead to a postmodern disavowal of any synthetic project, at least in this field. The Australian sociology of work and employment has been largely free of the more extreme influences of postmodernism's relativism and attempt to reduce all social life to culture wars (Earley & Gibson 2002).  The forward with fairness and work choices policies had difference on the number of people that will be allowed to participate on work agreements. In work choices, employees should engage in individual workplace agreements rather than collective agreements. In forward with fairness, employees have the freedom to engage in collective agreements. The forward with fairness and work choices policies had differences on focus. Work choices gave priority to the welfare of the employers while forward with fairness gave more rights to the employees. Work choices sided with the employers while forward with fairness sided with the employees. The forward with fairness and work choices policies gave different contributions to Australia’s industrial relations. The forward with fairness allowed for suggestions on minimum wage policies while work choices policies made sure that unlawful termination is discontinued.  The forward with fairness gave new work hours while the work choices policies did not create any changes on the work hours.

Contributions of the two polices on the workplace

The forward with fairness and work choices policies made sure that workplace agreements would be properly held in either collective or individual capacities. Both policies gave their own idea of how workplace agreements should be held and what should be the procedures in workplace agreements.  The forward with fairness and work choices policies forced employers and employees to have an idea of their rights and privileges under the law. Both policies may have differences on focus and effects but both forward with fairness and work choices policies give the employees and employers a reason to know the law on employment. The forward with fairness and work choices policies helped in reducing some processes on workplace agreements. Both forward with fairness and work choices policies made sure that the processes on workplace agreements would fit the demands of either the employer or the employee.  Moreover forward with fairness and work choices policies created newer possibilities on employment legislations in Australia.  The two policies, their similarities and differences can be used to create better legislations that will serve the needs of both the personnel and the employer.


The forward with fairness and work choices policies were made for various purposes and effects but both wants to make sure that employment relations in Australia would create benefits for employees and employers. Both policies wanted to change the relationship in the workplace to create a better economy for the country.


Bamber, GJ, Lansbury, RD & Wailes, N (eds.) 2004, 

International and comparative employment relations:

Globalization and the developed market economies, Allen &

Unwin, Crows Nest, N.S.W.


Dawkins, P & Kelly, P (eds.) 2003, Hard heads, soft hearts:

A new reform agenda for Australia, Allen & Unwin, Crows

Nest, N.S.W.


Dowrick, S, Hassan, R & Mcallister, I (eds.) 2003, The

Cambridge handbook of the social sciences in Australia,

Cambridge University Press, New York.


Earley, C & Gibson, CB 2002, Multinational work teams: A

new perspective, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ.


Elder, C 2007, Being Australian: narratives of national

identity, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, N.S.W.


Germov, J & Poole, M (eds.) 2007, Public Sociology: An

introduction to Australian society, Allen & Unwin, Crows

Nest, N.S.W.


Peetz, D 2009, Brave new work choices: What is the story so far?, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.


Watson, TJ 2003, Sociology, work and industry, Routledge,


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