Delegates Rights Terms in Awards and Reminder on Super and Wage Increases from 1st July 2024

New Delegates Rights Terms in Award

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has released a delegates’ rights term which has been inserted into every modern award. These have taken effect from 1 July 2024.

The FWC has also inserted an interaction clause into 38 modern awards, which already had existing clauses dealing with delegate rights. This clause states that where an existing workplace delegates’ clause is more favourable than the new delegates’ rights clause term, then the existing clause and entitlements shall continue to apply.

Enterprise agreements are not affected immediately by the new delegates’ rights term in modern awards, however from 1 July 2024, all new enterprise agreements voted on must include a delegates’ rights term that is at least as favourable as the one in the relevant modern award.

What is a Workplace Delegate

A Workplace delegate represents the workplace interests of union members and potential members. Delegates must give their employer written notice of their appointment or election as a delegate.

Workplace Delegate Rights

In all cases what is considered reasonable depends on factors including the size and nature of the business, resources of the employer and the facilities available at the workplace.

• They may represent the industrial interests of eligible employees who wish to be represented by the delegate in relation to major workplace changes, rosters, or hours of work, resolution of disputes, disciplinary processes, enterprise bargaining, and any other process or procedure in an award, agreement or policy where eligible employees are entitled to be represented and which concerns their industrial interests.

• They are entitled to ‘reasonable communication’ with ‘eligible employees’. Eligible employees are other workers in the workplace who are either members of the same union as the delegate or entitled to be members of the same union. Reasonable communication includes discussing membership of the delegate’s union and representation of eligible employees. Communication can take place during working hours, work breaks or before work.

• They have the right to access private spaces to hold discussions, a noticeboard, secure storage, email and other standard office facilities including printers, photocopiers and Wi-Fi. However, an employer is not required to provide access or use of facilities when they do not have the facility, it would be impracticable to provide access to or use of the facility in the manner sough due to operational requirements or they do not have access to the facility and are unable to obtain access after taking reasonable steps.

• Employers (who are not small businesses – defined as under 15 employees) are required to allow workplace delegates to access paid training during normal working hours, subject to the following conditions:

o No more than one workplace delegate per 50 eligible employees. This is to be determined on the day a delegate requests to attend training and eligible employees include full-time, part-time and regular casual employees.

o No more than five days to attend initial training and at least one day each subsequent year.

o The delegate must give their employer the start and finish times of the training, the subject matter of the training and the name of the training provider at least five weeks before the training commences (or a shorter period where agreed).

o The delegate must provide the employer with an outline of the training content If requested by the employer.

o The delegate must provide evidence of attendance to their employer within seven days of the end of the training.

• Workplace delegates have the right to represent eligible employees in relation to disciplinary processes. In a significant change, they are allowed to speak/advocate/argue on an employee’s behalf. This makes it important to ensure that it is clear when a disciplinary process begins.

Workplace Delegate Obligations

Workplace delegates must comply with their duties and obligations as an employee, comply with reasonable policies and procedures of their employer including in relation to safety and IT, not hinder, obstruct or prevent the normal performance of work and not hinder, obstruct or prevent eligible employees exercising their rights to freedom of association.

Employer Obligations

Employers must not unreasonably fail or refuse to deal with the workplace delegate, make a false or misleading representation to the workplace delegate or unreasonably hinder, obstruct or prevent the exercise of workplace delegates’ rights under the Act, a modern award or an enterprise agreement.

The rights and entitlements of workplace delegates are also ‘workplace rights’. If an employer takes ‘adverse action’ that could disadvantage an employee because they are exercising their rights as a delegate, they will have breached the general protections provisions of the Fair Work Act. and could face fines of up to $19,800 for an individual and up to $99,000 for a company per breach.


If you have award covered employees, we recommend you review the new delegates’ rights and assess the implications for your organisation.

You should ensure that managers are aware of these new rights as well as delegates and eligible employees.

Payroll systems may need to be updated to allow for paid delegate training leave.

A reminder regarding our previous news item. Minimum wages and superannuation increased from 1st July 2024. For more information, please see the previous news item or get in touch with the HR Specialist team at 1300 717 721, for any questions/concerns regarding this article or if you need support or clarification as to how you best implement/manage these changes with your team.

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