See Fair Work Act s.459(1)
In order for employee claim action to be authorised and protected it must commence:
- during the 30 day period starting on the date of the declaration of the results of the ballot, or
- if the Commission has granted an extension to the 30 day period, during the extended period.
Once commenced, the form of protected industrial action taken can continue beyond the 30 day period provided it is in line with the ballot endorsed action.
There is no requirement that the specific instances of protected industrial action specified in the notice given to the employer under s.414 of the Fair Work Act are commenced within the 30 day period. It is sufficient that the genus of industrial action commences within the 30 day period.
The 30 day period is a time limit for commencement of industrial action, not a time limit for completion of industrial action. The purpose of the time limit is to ensure that the employees are voting upon a real proposal based upon relatively contemporaneous circumstances. A commitment to relatively prompt action is involved, rather than simply giving an authority which can be held up the sleeve of those negotiating for the employees.