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Government calls time on changes to access period

Media Release

Emergency measures introduced by the Morrison Government to help businesses adapt quickly to the challenges of COVID-19 will now be wound back in line with the easing of other restrictions on the Australian economy.

On April 16, the Government introduced a Fair Work Regulation that reduced the time required for changes to enterprise agreements to be agreed by employees - known as the access period - from a minimum of seven days to a minimum of one day.

The Regulation was designed to enable workplaces to more quickly implement changes needed to meet social distancing requirements, such as working from home arrangements or new roster patterns.

A review conducted by the Attorney-General's Department found the Regulation was used 23 times, with about two thirds of the new agreements allowing three or more days for changes to be considered.

The review did not identify any cases of misuse by employers but concluded that the need for the change had now passed and the original seven-day access period should be reinstated.

'This was only ever intended to be an immediate, temporary measure designed to assist businesses during the peak of the pandemic and it is clear to me that it has served its purpose and can be withdrawn which will reinstate the usual seven day access period,' Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter, said.