Industrial relations is the management of work-related obligations and entitlements between employers and their employees. On 1 January 2010, Queensland's industrial relations for the private sector moved from a state system to a national system, legislated through the Fair Work Act 2009.
In Australia, industrial relations laws cover employment issues such as minimum wages, employment standards and pay equity. These laws also cover hours of work and leave entitlements, and protect employees from discrimination and unfair dismissal.
Under Australian industrial relations laws, employees are granted freedom of association, which allows them to decide whether to join unions. The laws also outline employee rights regarding industrial action, such as strikes.
The Fair Work Commission
The Fair Work Commission is the national workplace relations tribunal. The Commission can help resolve disputes involving employers, employees and unions, and employer associations who are covered by the national workplace relations system.
The Fair Work Commission has the power to carry out a range of functions relating to:
More information is available on the Fair Work Commission website or by phoning 1300 799 675.
The Fair Work Ombudsman
The Fair Work Ombudsman, a statutory office created by the Fair Work Act 2009, is another source of information about employment issues. They promote harmonious, productive and cooperative workplace relations and ensure compliance with national workplace laws.
The Fair Work Ombudsman website includes:
- fair work fact sheets that cover a range of topics and set out the minimum rights and responsibilities of employers
- fair work best practice guides that provide information on important workplace issues.
Visit the website or call 13 13 94 to discuss your issue with a Fair Work Infoline adviser. All services are free to all workers and employers in Australia.
National employment standards
The Fair Work Act legislates the National Employment Standards (NES), which list the 10 minimum standards of employment, including minimum entitlements to leave, notice of termination and redundancy pay.
As part of the NES, all employers must provide a Fair Work Information Statement to all new employees.
Learn more about employee entitlements and awards.
Pay rates and pay equity
Pay equity is when employees receive equal pay for work of equal or comparable value. Pay equity is legislated by the Fair Work Act.
- Learn more about awards and wages to ensure that you pay your employees correctly.
- Learn about gender pay equity.
Queensland industrial relations
The Queensland Government's Department of Justice and Attorney-General administers industrial relations for the public sector and local government. Other state responsibilities for all sectors including the private sector include:
- long service leave entitlements
- child employment laws
- private employment agents
- retail trading hours
- public holidays.
Your obligations as a Queensland employer
More information is available on your other obligations as a Queensland employer:
- Last reviewed
- November 15, 2013