The following summarises the methods used to analyse the sittings of the Commission between 1 July 2009 and 30 June 2014 (Chart 6).

Sittings refer to conferences and court usage for hearings, directions and mentions. The majority of sittings are conducted by Members of the Commission. However, a small number of sittings overseen by conciliators are included in the analysis (these are limited to unfair dismissal dispute resolution proceedings that require the Commission’s video conferencing facilities). Unfair dismissal conciliations that take place by phone are not included in the count of sittings.

Table L1 provides an overview of the number of hearings, conferences and other sittings required to process the four case types shown in Chart 6: agreements, legislative reviews, matters related to industrial action, and unfair dismissal matters.*

Table L2 shows the types of matters that are included under the four case categories.

Table L1—Number of sittings by matter type, 2009–10 to 2013–14
Matter type 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 Total
Agreements 1655 935 966 886 756 5198
Legislative reviews 586 19 2691 1962 349 5607
Industrial action 1343 993 988 655 595 4574
Unfair dismissal 1668 2288 2391 2432 2779 11 558
Source: Fair Work Commission, Case Management System Plus (CMS plus), unpublished data.

Notes: The spike in legislative reviews in the 2011–12 financial year can be attributed to the large number of listings that year for the variation and termination of certain transitional instruments to take account of Part 10A award modernisation process pursuant to Sched. 5, Item 3 of the Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009. In 2012–13, the number of listing under this provision had dropped to zero.

* A quantitative profile of the Commission’s listings requires a calculation of all sitting dates across all locations. For example, the annual wage review is listed for decision and the Commission’s offices in Melbourne. However, the decision may also be listed for decision via videolink at other locations across Australia. In these circumstances, the number of sitting dates includes a count for both the Melbourne hearing and the hearings at each videolink location.
Table L2—Types of matters included in each case load category
Matter type Legislation
Agreements  
Application for approval of a greenfields agreement s.185, Fair Work Act
Application for approval of a single-enterprise agreement s.185, Fair Work Act
Application for approval of a variation of an enterprise agreement s.210, Fair Work Act
Application to vary an agreement to remove an ambiguity or uncertainty s.217, Fair Work Act
Application to deal with a dispute about variations s.217A, Fair Work Act
Application for approval of a termination of an enterprise agreement s.222, Fair Work Act
Application for termination of an enterprise agreement after its nominal expiry date s.225, Fair Work Act
Application by agreement to terminate collective agreement-based transitional instrument Sched. 3, Item 15, Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009
Application to terminate collective agreement-based transitional instrument Sched. 3, Item 16, Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009
Application by agreement to terminate individual agreement-based transitional instrument Sched. 3, Item 17, Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009
Legislative reviews  
Review of modern awards to give effect to s.149A provisions regarding superannuation contributions for defined benefit members (2013 review) s.149A, Fair Work Act
4 yearly review of modern awards s.156, Fair Work Act
4 yearly review of default fund terms s.156A, Fair Work Act
Annual wage review s.285, Fair Work Act
Variation and termination of certain transitional instruments etc. to take account of Part 10A award modern process Sched. 5, Item 3, Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009
Review of all modern awards (other than modern enterprise and State PS awards) after first 2 years (Transitional Review) Sched. 5, Item 6, Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009
FWC must make or vary State reference public sector modern awards at the end of the application period Sched. 6A, Item 6, Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009
Award modernisation s.576E Workplace Relations Act
Award modernisation s.576H Workplace Relations Act
Industrial action  
Application for an order that industrial action by employees or employers stop etc. s.418, Fair Work Act
Application for an order that industrial action by non-national system employees or employers stop etc. s.419, Fair Work Act
Application to suspend or terminate protected industrial action—significant economic harm etc. s.423, Fair Work Act
Notice of initiation of bargaining period s.423(3), Fair Work Act
Application to suspend or terminate protected industrial action—endangering life etc. s.424, Fair Work Act
Application to suspend protected industrial action—cooling off s.425, Fair Work Act
Application to suspend protected industrial action—significant harm to a third party s.426, Fair Work Act
Application for a protected action ballot order s.437, Fair Work Act
Application for variation of protected action ballot order s.447, Fair Work Act
Application for variation of protected action ballot order s.448, Fair Work Act
Report about conduct of protected action ballot s.458, Fair Work Act
Application to extend the 30-day period in which industrial action is authorised by protected action ballot s.459, Fair Work Act
Application for an order relating to certain partial work bans s.472, Fair Work Act
Application for an order relating to certain partial work bans s.496(1), Fair Work Act
Unfair dismissal  
Application for unfair dismissal remedy s.394, Fair Work Act