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Glossary

Annual performance statements

Statements prepared by the accountable authority of a Commonwealth entity in accordance with s.39 of the PGPA Act that acquit a Commonwealth entity’s actual performance against planned performance described in the entity’s corporate plan.

Applicant

The party who lodged an application with 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, where permitted by the Fair Work Act.

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 to reach an agreement.

Constitutional corporation

Defined under the Fair Work Act as ‘a corporation to which paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution applies’.

Constitutionally covered business

A person conducting a business or undertaking, conducted principally in a territory or Commonwealth place, or where the person conducting the business or undertaking is:

  a constitutional corporation the Commonwealth

  a Commonwealth authority, or

  a body corporate incorporated in a territory.

Corporate plan

A plan setting out the objectives, capabilities and intended results over a four-year period, in accordance with its stated purposes, required of Commonwealth entities under the PGPA Act.

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 Standards. 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.

Fair Work Act 2009

The principal Commonwealth law governing Australia’s workplace relations system.

Fair Work Commission Rules

A legislative instrument made under the Fair Work Act setting out rules and procedural requirements for matters heard by the Commission.

Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009

Legislation regulating federally registered unions and employer organisations, including their registration and rules.

Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009

The legislation that governs transitional arrangements in connection with commencement of the Fair Work Act on 1 July 2009 and other related matters.

Full Bench

A Full Bench 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 and other matters specified in the Fair Work Act.

General protections

General workplace protections are specified in the Fair Work Act and include freedom of association; protection from discrimination and sham contracting; and the ability to exercise, or to not exercise, workplace rights.

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.

Key performance indicator

A type of performance measurement (based on qualitative or quantitative data) used in assessing the efficiency or effectiveness of activities in achieving purposes.

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 to 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. Modern awards are expressed to cover entire industries and/ or occupations, and include terms that complement the National Employment Standards. The Commission must ensure that, together with the standards, modern awards provide a fair and relevant minimum safety net.

National Employment Standards

A set of 11 minimum employment standards that came into effect on 1 January 2010 and apply to all employees within the federal system. An additional standard was added on 27 March 2021.

National minimum wage order

The order specifying a minimum wage for all national system employees, a casual loading for award-free and agreement-free employees, and special minimum wages for junior employees, trainees and employees with a disability.

Party

An applicant or a respondent to a proceeding before the Commission.

Portfolio budget statements

Statements that inform Parliament and the public of the proposed allocation of resources to government outcomes. They also assist the Senate standing committees with their examination of the government’s Budget.

Protected action ballot

A secret ballot allowing employees who are 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 unions and employer associations formally register as industrial organisations under the Registered Organisations Act.

Respondent

A party to a matter who is responding to an application initiated by an applicant.

Right of entry

The legal right of union officials to enter business premises under certain conditions for purposes described in the Fair Work Act or the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Right of entry permit

A permit issued by the Commission to an official of a union under either the Fair Work Act or the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.