The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FWA) requires employers to give every new employee at least one of three statements published by the Fair Work Ombudsman (Statements). Failure to provide the appropriate Statements to a new employee constitutes a contravention of the FWA, raising an entitlement to a civil remedy for that employee.
The Statements are as follows:
- Fair Work Information Statement (FWIS);
- Casual Employee Information Statement (CEIS); and
- Fixed Term Contract Information Statement (FTCIS).
Fair Work Information Statement and Casual Employee Information Statement
All new employees must receive a copy of the FWIS either before, or as soon as practicable after, their employment begins.
Casual employees must also be provided with a copy of the CEIS before or as soon as practicable after they start a new job.
The FWIS and CEIS provide new employees with information about their entitlements and conditions of employment.
The most current versions can be found here and here, for the FWIS and CEIS, respectively. These versions are effective from 1 July 2023.
Fixed Term Contract Information Statement
On and from 6 December 2023, employers must also give employees entering a fixed-term contract a FTCIS before, or as soon as practicable after, entering into the contract.
This includes employees that are entering into a contract of employment that contains a term stating that the contract will terminate at the end of an identifiable period.
The FWO is yet to publish the FTCIS and employers should take care to look for its publication.
Employers should note the difference in timing for the FTCIS obligation. The FWIS and CEIS must be provided before or as soon as practicable after employment commences whereas the FTCIS must be given before or as soon as practicable after the contract is signed.
Providing employees with the Statements
The Statements can be given to new employees in any of the following ways:
- in person;
- by mail;
- by email;
- by emailing a link to either the FWIS page, or CEIS page;
- by fax;
- by emailing a link to a copy of the FWIS or CEIS available on the employer’s intranet.
As Statements are often updated, we advise employers to avoid printing and storing hard copies.
Failure to provide the Statements to new employees will constitute a breach of the FWA. In practice, the most likely response will be the issuing of a warning by the Court.
However, if non-compliance is repeated or deliberate, the Court may issue an employer with an on-the-spot fine in the form of an infringement notice or a court order for payment of compensation for the loss flowing from the contravention.
For growing businesses that regularly take on causal and fixed-term employees, it is vital that correct and up-to-date Statements are distributed for the protection of both the employee and employer.
If you have any further questions regarding any aspect of bringing on a new employee, feel free to reach out to Daniel and the M+E Workplace Team at email@example.com.