An enterprise agreement should be able to inform the employee of how much they can expect to be paid at each grade, the terms in which they will work with; the number of hours an employee can work per day, terms of extra time in duty and terms of reward, and whether there are breaks for taking meals in between the working hours. In agreement, the employee is also entitled to know how to go through the procedures used to resolve disputes in case they arise and how and whom they can consult to improve their working environment. It is through this agreement that the employee authorizes any deductions to be cut from their salaries. The commission of fair work gives information that guides the agreement between the employers and the employees on their terms of work and the conditions in which they are offered the employment (Li, 2017). The commission also evaluates and analyzes the different agreements and also makes the decision on the basis of meeting some set conditions together with putting the public interests as a major factor. In this regard, the enterprise agreements have to follow the commission's guidelines, and if they do not meet them, they are not approved.
The BOOT test was introduced at the beginning of the year 2010 with the aim of assessing the different groups of employees (Li, 2017). This test only works at a time when a person in place of an employee who is covered by the award makes an application for the agreement. Not all the agreements from employees covered by the rewards meet the requirement of the better off overall test although some who take care of the interest of the public can be considered by the fair work Australia. The BOOT test also requires workers who are covered in the award agreement or those who intend to be covered by the award to be the best among all at the time of their application because they must meet the pass requirement of the test. Before this test was implemented in 2010, the “no disadvantage test” was in place (McDonald, 2013).
The test is used to set the pay rates in comparison to the relevant modern award or the least pay set up by the Australian government. If the final agreement sets the pay to be lower than what was in the relevant modern award or is below the government's least pay, then the fair work Australia approves the government's pay as the employee is entitled to. Using the better off overall test helps to compare the financial benefits of an individual, their circumstances at the time with the monetary/ non-monetary awards that are applicable at the time of agreement (Parker et al. 2017). Employee flexibilities can also be negotiated after employment so that the worker gets the power to bargain on their terms and conditions and do not just confirm/ accept the employer’s terms. Here the Commission considers the welfare of the employee to avoid exploitation from the employer.
Having set the lowest one can earn in any agreement for employees who are already covered in the awards/ those who intend to be covered by a certain award. This also has a long-term benefit to the employer since after the agreement is approved by the fair working commission, the employee gains intrinsic motivation and satisfaction which in turn would improve their commitment to work, thus improving the rate of production and their services become more efficient (Matlay, 2009). Workers who have gone through individual flexibility agreement do not switch from one employment to the other, they do their jobs/ they serve for a long term, and therefore the employer does not spend a lot of energy and finances on recruitment processes. Employees are retained for a long term, and the business can stabilize in their operations. They also do not spend on training and retraining frequently changed over employees who in other cases without the flexibility agreement and employees are persistent in attendance of duties. They are responsible and do not abscond duties (Mcdonald, 2013)
Cole's Supermarkets had an issue to reckon on which award they would give to Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association and at the same time, the Transport Workers' Union of Australia had a similar case to negotiate an agreement that would cover the employees who transported groceries that were ordered through online shopping (Matlay, 2009). The fair work commission was to give guidelines on the enterprise agreement. Coles felt that the commission of fair work would give their recommendation or give their views on the two matters. By law, the commission could become an arbitrator to solve the dispute by reconciling the parties involved or by giving their views on the same for the parties to negotiate and implement the commission’s proposals. The Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association also felt that the commission could recommend the award and was willing to start their negotiations with the Coles based on the views of the Commission.
They hoped to get a better salary and that their working environment would be appealing and better than the working conditions in place at the time. The Transport Workers Union at the time of these processes had a different view of the approach of the negotiations. They had already started another case in a court with a claim that the court solution would bind the supermarkets legally while the alternative by the commission would not. (Sydney, 2012)The final decision by the commission was to give the court the time to make a ruling as their decision would bind all the parties and that for "the better off overall test," it would be best decision to follow the proceedings in the court and to take the award the court would recommend.
The BOOT requires that workers agree without being coerced the terms in the agreement, if many employers are covered by the agreement, they should have accepted voluntarily and not to have been influenced by those seemingly superior employers, the agreement must also provide for ways and channels of addressing any disputes that might come up and the end of the agreement date should be well laid out (George et al. 2017). The employer too should seek legal advice on a selection of legal terms so that the agreement is fair to both the employer and the employee. The criteria used to select the number of employees that appear to be covered in the agreement should appear to be wise from the employer’s side.
H&M is one of the organizations that have found themselves on the wrong side of the law as far as BOOT test is concerned. Despite the organization being huge and having many branches across the world, it has failed to enter into an agreement with the employees (Low, 217). However, this can only be blamed on the fact that the company wanted to cut the wages of the employees at the expense of the employees. The company would have decided to implement the law, but because the employees had to agree to the document, the company found itself in conflict with the employees because they did not share the same views. However, the body that played the most crucial role in the entire case is the Fair Work Commission by dismissing the enterprise agreement.
The reason why the agreement was dismissed was that it failed to satisfy the BOOT; an action that would have left many employees underpaid. The BOOT makes sure that each and every organization does not pay less than the award rate. In this case, H&M was trying to go through the back door and implement a document that would have violated the rights of the workers. According to Mr. Cullinan (Low, 2017), if the agreement would have been effected, it is more likely that the people who would be more affected would be employees who work on weekends and nigh shifts. Though H&M tried to argue that most of the permanent employees are paid better and way above the award rate, it was not a justification for trying to oppress those who were not on the permanent payroll. The move by the Fair Work Commission was one of the best because it protected the rights of many employees. The case is a good example of the importance of a controlling body in the employment industry as it makes sure that the needs of the employees are met, and employees are not taken for granted.
The test has a good package for the employees, and they might get attracted to employment in business enterprises that cover their employees under agreements. It targets to improve the welfare of the employees and in turn, increase the rate of productivity, service delivery becomes more efficient, and this increases the monetary returns to the business (George et al. 2017). The workers are more committed to their work and avoid absenteeism because they are motivated, and they know the modern rewards that can come along with attaining the best in the workplace. However, the workers at times are not informed about the specific rewards to specific roles that they play in the business and they can, therefore, keep on bringing up disputes which require attention from the courts or need a third party that is not partisan to the organization.
This leads to expensive engagement at times to the arbitrator and a waste of time and also leads to tension between the employer and the employee. Resolving of disputes can at times lead to directions which hard to implement by the employer especially when the court is involved. The winners of the case, either the employer or the employees tend to feel superior, and their relationships are damaged. If all clauses of the agreement are clear to both parties, such incidences of strikes and disputes emerging every other time could avoid. (Fair Work Ombudsman, 2009). Only selected employees are covered by a particular agreement; this means that there different agreements for different classes of employees. This sets the employees in different social groups and becomes skeptical in how they relate with one another as others are seen to have better terms than the others.
The employees feel that they are not subjected to similar terms and that some are viewed special than others. It is, therefore, important to consider factors such as literacy levels of the employees and how informed they are about their roles and class within the organization (Mcdonald, 2013). Team building and regular forums to express satisfaction and dissatisfaction should be put in place to sense any dispute that might emerge and address it before it affects the performance of the workers. The employers and the employees should be able to interact well with a common objective of achieving the best for the company. The employer controls the employee and gives instructions to the employee while the worker works under the instructions of the senior and has to comply.
There exists a vertical relationship between the two where supervision is done by the employer. They both have to know their boundaries so that they can coexist with one another and here the employer should not be misled by power and exploit the workers. They should have set out clearly their expectations. This should take place during the orientation of the workers, given the right tools of work and the freedom to query where they feel uncomfortable to work. Employees pay should never be late and in case the circumstances of paying late the management should prepare the workers psychologically and give a promise of a date to pay their dues (Australian council of trade unions, 2009). Rewards too should be given to those who deserved at the right time. Overtime rewards should well spell out, and the employers should respect the breaks time for the employee as personal time.
It is wise for employers to know that the efficiency and good productivity highly depends on how they treat their employees. It’s good to know when to centralize supervision to one person and when to decentralize the power having evaluated the power of delegation of powers. It is good to know how to use the best management terms that create the best working environment for a business and not to harm the best performance of the company (Bal & De Jong, 2017). The Australian government through the fair work commission has put much effort to improve the working conditions of the employees, and they require the employers to comply and not to take advantage of the low bargaining power of the employees. It has reviewed the employment system and has made it a requirement that a single/ business enterprise agreement be reached by both parties before the contract takes off. The law has greatly improved the employment sector and workers are not exploited and that they can produce according to their capabilities.
The employers are advised to keep the agreement data for every employee and also give a copy to the employee and caution them against breaching the agreement because of the consequences. Every employer must define the relevant modern reward to their employees notify the employee (Sydney, 2012). A corporate organization has a social responsibility and for any agreement to pass the “better off overall test," the fair work commission has to be convinced that the organization takes care of the interests of the people. In case the employer and the employee do not agree on the terms and conditions of working before commencing of employment/ the contract, the agreement can be passed by the commission of fair work so long as the employer promises to negotiate on the terms within six months and shows how committed they are to the needs/ demands of the society (Vakola & Nikolaou, 2005).
All the industries have been given guidelines by the Australian government on the terms of employment for all the employees, and they have also set a minimum pay for various classes of employees. The employer should be aware of the rates set by the government as it is illegal to pay any amount of money below the government scales (Parker, 2017). There is, however, variations which employers create for the unskilled laborers, and the government should look keenly on their terms of employment. There are also no clear guidelines on the casual laborers who are not permanent or are not given contracts and therefore do not have a written agreement between them and employers. They get hired and fired any time the employer pleases or are employed through the rare necessity to the company. Terms of payment too for experts who are employed once in a very lengthy time to check the functionality of the assets within the company are not specified (Bal & De Jong, 2017). The government is not clear on the agreement rules whether there is minimum pay or bracket for which they should pay. The better off overall has many advantages than disadvantages and therefore has improved the working conditions of the employee. Only a slight improvement on the employer’s welfare too should be taken care of.
Without fear of doubt or contradiction, just like the employers, the employees as well have the right to partake in the success of any organization. It is for this reason that there emerges a need for an availability of an abiding agreement that defines what is expected of the employee as well as the employer. When such happens, it is evident that the employees are made to feel as part and parcel of the organization thus performing better with the aim of being rewarded and earning from their hard work. The BOOT test has worked effectively in promoting the performance of the employees. Though it has its weaknesses, it also has its strengths as well which outshine the weaknesses. The test encourages the employees to play their roles effectively if they are to be rewarded by the employers or the organizations they work for. Therefore, it ensures that both the employee’s and the employer’s needs are well taken care of.
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