Know Your Rights: Jurisdiction




Industrial jurisdictions


Today we commence a 15 week series of Know Your Rights articles with a discussion about industrial jurisdictions.

There are two systems (or jurisdictions) of industrial law in NSW: the state system and the national system.

A state system employee is covered by the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW). National system employees are covered by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

These laws set out important ground rules such as how unions operate, how awards and agreements are made, and how disputes (including unfair dismissals) are resolved.

Most state system employees in NSW are public sector employees and include most of NSW Health, mainly employed in Local Health Districts/Hospitals.

A national system employee is an employee of a constitutional corporation (i.e. a trading, financial or foreign corporation as per paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution). This means most private sector employees, and in NSW includes Affiliated Health Organisations and other non-government organisations like Family Planning and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

The main industrial tribunal for state system employees is the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (‘IRC’) whilst the Fair Work Commission (‘FWC) is the main tribunal for national system employees.

The role of both Commissions is to regulate workplace affairs. They resolve industrial disputes, deal with equal remuneration matters, set conditions of employment by making and reviewing awards and enterprise agreements, decide unfair dismissals, regulate union right of entry and how industrial action is taken. In addition the FWC facilitates good faith bargaining.

For state system employees most conditions are contained in Awards, like the Staff Specialists (State) Award. For national system employees’ salaries and conditions are contained within Enterprise Agreements and/or a Modern Award. For doctors who are national system employees the relevant Modern Award is the Medical Practitioners Award 2010.

It is important to know which jurisdiction you work in, what laws cover you and how your conditions are salaries are set. If you are unsure, an ASMOF staff member is available to have this discussion with you.



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