Right of entry refresher

The Local Government sector is experiencing an increase in union activities since the transition to the State industrial relations (IR) system on 1 January 2023.
There have been examples of unions seeking to enter workplaces to:
  • hold meetings
  • visit employees and their workplaces
  • discuss the voting process for new industrial agreements.
Generally speaking, right of entry activities are governed by the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) (IR Act), sections 49G to 49O (inclusive) and safety legislation. The provisions of the IR Act are much broader and less prescriptive than the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

In summary there are number of legislative rights and responsibilities for both unions and employers about the ability to enter to:
  • hold discussion with any relevant employees who wish to participate in those discussions, and
  • investigate any suspected breach of the IR Act and other industrial or safety legislation and instruments.  
With the changed IR landscape in the State system (including increased union activity), it is vital that Local Governments familiarise themselves with these legislative rights and responsibilities so that they are prepared to manage right of entry requests from union officials in person and in writing.

New subscriber resources on right of entry

Employee Relations subscribers can access WALGA’s new Union Right of Entry Checklist  to manage union right of entry. The checklist includes information about:
  • right of entry under the IR Act
  • how to identify a valid permit
  • notice requirements
  • workplace access and meeting locations
  • access to records and other information.
The checklist also provides useful tips to assist Local Governments to develop a more comprehensive plan to manage union entry.

A PowerPoint presentation, Responding to union demands for entry delivered at WALGA’s HR forums last year is also available to ER subscribers. Please note subscribers will need to login to the website to be able to view these resources.

ER subscribers can also contact the WALGA Employee Relations service for further information or assistance about right of entry.

Update to ER subscriber FAQs

WALGA Employee Relations continues to receive a significant number of questions about the operation of the State IR system. The subscriber FAQs have been updated and are available here to address frequently asked questions about the:
  Please let the ER team know if you would like any further areas addressed via the FAQs.

New award comparison guide 

WALGA ER subscribers can now access a new Award Comparison Guide about casual employee entitlements which compares the Local Government Industry Award 2020 new State instrument and the following State Local Government awards:
  This resource is useful to gain an understanding of the differences in entitlements for casual employees in the State and Federal IR systems. It may also be useful to assist WA Local Governments to negotiate entitlements for casuals in replacement or new State industrial agreements.

Sector Reference Group meeting

The Sector Reference Group will be meeting on Tuesday 28 February 2023 to discuss their Local Government’s transition to the State IR system and identify and plan for the sector’s ongoing needs. SRG members can RSVP via their invitation email sent from WALGA Employee Relations (on 10 February 2023) until 12.00pm on Monday 27 February 2023.

New resources and training on the way

For our subscribers we are working on a State template industrial agreement with guidance notes that will assist Local Governments to review and amend their current industrial agreements when they are ready to be renegotiated. Also keep an eye out for registration information on a right of entry webinar and a brand new training course coming soon!
We will continue to provide you with updates on these items through our ER Alerts and SIRT Bulletins.

If you subscribe to the WALGA Employee Relations service and have any questions about this alert, please email WALGA Employee Relations or call 1300 366 956.