Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

June 20, 2024, 07:11:24 am

Author Topic: Human resource management function SAC!  (Read 2160 times)  Share 

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Victorian
  • Trailblazer
  • *
  • Posts: 48
  • Respect: 0
Human resource management function SAC!
« on: August 10, 2009, 02:06:32 am »
Hey, our Sac on unit 4 is an essay. We have to discuss the following question:

"Discuss how the role of a human resource manager has changed since the introduction of Workplace Relations act 1996 and the amendments in 2005, 2007 and 2008".

part of the criteria is to:
- explain and compare the centralised and decentralised approaches to workplace relations, explore the advantages and disadvantages of both.
- Explain and analyse the changes introduced through the workplace relations act 1996 and how these changes impacted on organisations.
- explain and analyse the changes introduced through the amendments in 2007 and 2008 and how there changes have impacted on organisations.
- Explain and anaylse the changes introduced through 'work choices' and how these changes impacted on organisations.
- Explore the ways a human resource manager could use these changes to improve staff performance and productivity and have the chances been successful for large scale organisations.

Please look at the criteria and give me feedback on my response :)


The workplace relations has changed significantly from the introduction of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 and the Workplace Relations amendment (WorkChoices) Act 2005 as it has changed its from a centralised to a decentralised system. The most important change was the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) has been downsized in their role in workplace relations. Because of the currently decentralised system, human resource managers can improve staff performance and productivity.

Before 1991 and the new legislation, the workplace relations system was centralised. The main focus was conflict resolution. The AIRC set awards and settled disputes. Awards are legally binding wages and conditions set across an entire industry. Disputes were settled through conciliation which was the parties talking things through with a third party present. Arbitration would otherwise be used which is like a court, where the third party makes a legally binding decision. The advantage of a centralised system was that it provided basic protection for employees because all employees were paid the same and therefore could not be exploited. It made it easy for employers to follow and set appropriate conditions. Awards also reduced conflict and conditions were legally enforceable. The disadvantage was that awards are inflexible. They do not encourage productivity based benefits because there was a set wage regardless of whether employees performed productively or not.

Currently, a decentralised workplace relations system is in place. This means employers and employees at individual workplaces have taken responsibility for the negotiations of their own wages, conditions and disputes. Therefore the role of the AIRC is limited. The advantage of this is that it allows for flexibility because employees can negotiate their own wages and conditions because although there are still awards you don’t have to be on them. It encourages improved productivity because if employees work harder they get rewarded. Finally, large scale organisations in Australia can remain competitive and compete on a global market because they can pay their employees less if they choose to. This system is also disadvantaged because it may force parties into a dispute because employers and employees may be unable to reach an agreement. It can also unfortunately lead to the exploitation of workers with little bargaining power such as low skilled workers.

The first step to the decentralisation of the workplace relations system happened in the National wage case in 1991 which introduced enterprise bargaining. This meant there was increased negotiation at the enterprise level. The Workplace Relations Act 1996 further decentralised the system by allowing three types of agreements. Awards were legally binding wages and conditions that apply across the board to all workers within a particular industry, and were decided by the AIRC. Secondly, collective bargaining agreements were contracts of employment negotiated on behalf of a group of workers at the workplace. Lastly, Australian Workplace Agreements (AWA’s) are individual contracts of employment negotiated between and individual and their employer. This clearly changed from the traditional system by having 20 allowable matters specific to each industry still remaining in awards. The AIRC role was clearly downsized as they did not set awards for everything anymore. The office of the employee advocate was established to oversee AWA’s. It also stated that during the negotiation process no industrial action was allowed to be taken. It encouraged employers and employees to negotiate contracts individually. This increased workplace flexibility and international competitiveness.

The next legislation was the Workplace Relations amendment (WorkChoices) Act 2005. This set five minimum employment conditions which are known as the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standards. These were a federal minimum wage, hours of work, annual leave, personal leave and unpaid parental leave. The aim was to improve employment level and national economic performance. It altered the unfair dismissal laws making it harder to receive unfair dismissal. It removed the ‘no disadvantage test’ and made it easier for employers to force employees onto AWA’s. It also banned clauses from workplace agreement which supported trade unions.

Since these legislations there have been a number of amendments. The introduction of the fairness test on AWA’s ensuring employees get fairly compensated. The appointment of the workplace ombudsman, which is an independent third party who investigates complaints and has the power to enforce employee rights. With the introduction of the labour party in March 2008 there is a ban on all new AWA’s while all existing ones remain until the contract runs out. This was decided because they were unfair on employees and exploited them. They are also seen to exclude unions.

Human resource managers can now easily improve staff performance and productivity because it is easier to give good workers a higher wage because of individual contracts. Now the employees are feeling like part of the team where as before they felt like adversaries battling each other for a larger piece of the profit.

The changes to the workplace relations system have been successful because it allows the human resource manager to create a harmonious and productive workplace with motivated, skilled and fulfilled employees. Even though AWA’s are controversial Telstra hasn’t had a problem with them. They have highlighted that employees are not exploited or forced onto AWA’s, that they are good for productivity.

The legislation that has been introduced has significantly changed the workplace relations system. It has changed the system from centralised to decentralised. Now large scale organisations can be more competitive and increase productivity. The Australian Industrial relations commission has been downsized because there are no longer compulsory set awards, it has allowed for flexibility in the workplace because of individual contracts. Human resource managers can increase productivity as good workers can get a higher wage. Therefore these changes have allowed for organisations to be more productive and competitive.