Note: Definitions in this glossary have been prepared to assist readers in understanding this annual report. They should not be regarded as comprehensive or legally authoritative.

annual wage review A review of award minimum wages and the national minimum wage order conducted by the Expert Panel of the Commission each financial year.
applicant The initiating party to a proceeding before the Commission.
arbitration A process in which the Commission determines a grievance or dispute by imposing a binding settlement. The Commission has powers of compulsory arbitration as well as offering arbitration by consent.
Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) Australia’s national industrial relations tribunal from 1988 to 2009. Many of the AIRC’s functions were assumed by Fair Work Australia on 1 July 2009, which was subsequently renamed the Fair Work Commission on 1 January 2013. The AIRC ceased to exist and transferred the remainder of its functions to Fair Work Australia on 31 December 2009.
award modernisation A process initiated in April 2008 by the Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. It is the process of reviewing and rationalising awards in the national workplace relations system to create a system of modern awards.
bargaining order An order made on application to the Commission by a bargaining representative negotiating for a proposed enterprise agreement to ensure good faith bargaining requirements or to promote fair and efficient bargaining.
bargaining representative An employer or a person appointed by the employer to be his or her representative; an employee organisation with respect to its members who will be covered by the agreement (unless the member appoints another person or revokes the status of the employee organisation); or any other person the employee appoints in writing to participate in negotiations on their behalf.
better off overall test (BOOT) The test that the Commission must apply to a proposed agreement before it can be approved to ensure that employees will be better off overall than under the applicable award. Individual flexibility arrangements under modern awards and enterprise agreements must also satisfy the test.
collective agreement A legally enforceable agreement made under previous legislation about terms and conditions of employment between an employer and a group of employees, or between an employer and one or more unions. Collective agreements were approved by the Workplace Authority.
conciliation One of the informal processes used by the Commission to facilitate the resolution of a grievance or a dispute between parties by helping them reach an agreement. Mediation is another informal technique used.
corporate governance The process by which agencies are directed and controlled. Corporate governance is generally understood to encompass authority, accountability, stewardship, leadership, direction and control.
discrimination—direct and indirect Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated unfairly or less favourably in the same or similar circumstances because of particular characterisitcs, for example, of their gender or race. Indirect discrimination occurs when there is a rule, policy, practice or procedure that is the same for everyone, but has an unequal or disproportionate effect for a specific group of people with those characteristics.
dispute resolution The process conducted by the Commission, arising from the dispute resolution procedure in awards, agreements or the Fair Work Act, for resolving disputes.
dispute resolution procedure The procedure specified in a modern award or enterprise agreement for the resolution of disputes arising under the award or agreement and in relation to the National Employment Standard. If no procedure is specified a model dispute resolution procedure specified in the Fair Work Act is deemed to apply.
enterprise agreement A legally enforceable agreement that covers the employment conditions of a group of employees and their employer. Enterprise agreements can be single or multi-enterprise agreements and must meet a number of requirements of the Fair Work Act before they can be approved by the Commission.
Fair Work Act 2009 The principal Commonwealth law governing Australia’s workplace relations system.
Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 The legislation that covers the registration and accountability of federally registered unions and employer associations.
Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009 The legislation that governs transitional matters in connection with the Fair Work Act and other related matters.
Federal Court of Australia The court with jurisdiction over matters arising under the Fair Work Act.
Full Bench A Full Bench of the Commission is convened by the President of the Commission and comprises at least three Commission Members, one of whom must be either the President, a Vice President or a Deputy President. Full Benches are convened to hear appeals, matters of significant national interest and various other matters specifically provided for in the Fair Work Act.
general protections General workplace protections specified in the Fair Work Act including freedom of association, protection from discrimination and sham contracting, and the ability to exercise, or to not exercise, workplace rights. The general protections provisions provide a right to apply to the Commission if an employee or employer is the subject of adverse action, such as termination of employment, refusal to employ a worker, or different (and unfair) conditions to other employees.
individual flexibility arrangement An agreement between an employer and an individual employee that modifies the application of a modern award or enterprise agreement. The individual flexibility arrangement must satisfy the better off overall test. There is no requirement to register an individual flexibility arrangement.
low-paid authorisation An authorisation made on application to the Commission by a bargaining representative or union negotiating for a proposed multi-enterprise agreement. A low-paid authorisation is designed to assist employees who have not had effective access to collective bargaining and gives access to an array of rights such as bargaining orders and low-paid workplace determinations.
mediation One of the informal processes used by the Commission to facilitate the resolution of a grievance or a dispute between parties by helping them reach an agreement. Conciliation is another informal technique used.
modern award An award created by the Commission. Modern awards came into effect on 1 January 2010 and include terms that complement the National Employment Standards (NES). The Commission must ensure that, together with the NES, modern awards provide a fair and relevant minimum safety net. Modern awards are expressed to cover entire industries and/or occupations.
National Employment Standards A set of ten minimum employment standards that apply to all employees within the federal system from 1 January 2010. The National Employment Standards include maximum weekly hours, requests for flexible working arrangements, parental leave and related entitlements, annual leave, personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave, community service leave, long service leave, public holidays, notice of termination and redundancy pay.
national minimum wage order The Commission must make a national minimum wage order each year in the annual review undertaken by the Expert Panel. It includes a minimum wage for all national system employees, a casual loading for award and agreement-free employees, and special minimum wages for junior employees, trainees and employees with a disability.
national system employee An employee covered by the national workplace relations system because they are employed by a constitutional corporation, the Commonwealth or a state reference employer, in certain designated industries or in a territory.
national system employer An employer covered by the national workplace relations system because they are a constitutional corporation, the Commonwealth or a state reference employer, in certain designated industries or in a territory.
party An applicant or a respondent to a proceeding before the Commission.
protected action ballot A secret ballot allowing employees directly concerned to vote on whether or not they authorise industrial action to advance the claims for their proposed enterprise agreement.
registration The process by which employee and employer organisations formally register as industrial organisations. Registration under the Registered Organisations Act confers certain rights and obligations, including the right to appear before the Commission and the obligation to report to the Commission on certain financial matters.
respondent A party to a matter who is responding to an application initiated by someone else.
right of entry The legal right of union officials to enter business premises under certain conditions for purposes described in the Fair Work Act.
right of entry permit A permit issued by the Commission to officials of a union who are found to be ‘fit and proper persons’ to hold an entry permit. A permit holder is able to utilise specific rights under the Fair Work Act.
Small Business Fair Dismissal Code A code declared by the Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for small businesses to follow when dismissing an employee in order to ensure the dismissal is fair.
unfair dismissal Unfair dismissal occurs when the employee who is protected by unfair dismissal provisions has been dismissed, the dismissal is harsh, unjust or unreasonable, it is not a genuine redundancy, and the dismissal is not consistent with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code (if it applies).

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