The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has written to President of the Fair Work Commission Justice Iain Ross following the FWC’s enterprise agreement update and his presentation to the NSW Industrial Relations Society last month.

ACCI, of which AMMA is an association member, has written to Justice Ross seeking detailed information regarding the length of time it takes to have enterprise agreements approved by the FWC.

On 16 August, the FWC provided updated data at the headline level on the median time for agreement approval from February 2019 to an unspecified date in August. According to the update, compared to 2017–18 the median time from lodgment to approval has more than halved, from a median of 76 days to a median of 35 days.

ACCI says “the information published by the FWC did not allow effective scrutiny or looking into which agreements, in which numbers are taking shorter and longer durations to approve”.

“It is also not possible from the data provided to properly consider how approval times are changing / protracting, or to properly compare agreement times against the Commission’s benchmarks,” the letter read.

The letter very publicly asks the FWC for more comprehensive data on how long agreements are actually taking to approve, in which numbers and in which industries and also on considerations such as the proportion of agreements requiring undertakings.

ACCI has also asked for information on how approval timelines are changing to allow effective comparisons over time including agreement approval times dating back to the commencement of the Fair Work Act.

The FWC Corporate Plan 2019-20 released on 30 August states the FWC will continue to benchmark performance and develop reporting capability in order to demonstrate timeliness in service delivery and to ensure transparency and accountability.

The FWC has set itself the performance target to improve or maintain the median agreement approval time for agreements approved without undertakings within 32 days from lodgment.

For a copy of ACCi’s letter, please contact [email protected]

Improving the performance of the Fair Work Commission is one of the reform priorities identified by AMMA in its Pathway to Productivity policy booklet. The high degree of inconsistency in decision making from the FWC is causing great frustration and confusion for employers, with many ultimately bypassing the enterprise bargaining system altogether.

The Pathway to Productivity booklet highlights the resources and energy industry’s key workplace reform priorities for the 46th Parliamentary term.

For a copy of Pathway to Productivity, click here.