Businesses working in the construction industry should be advised that on 1 July 2019 an amendment to the Fair Work Regulations took effect requiring that all union entry permits, issued on or after 1 July 2019, incorporate the following:

  1. the permit holder’s full name;
  2. the name of the organisation that applied for the entry permit;
  3. an expiry date for the entry permit;
  4. the permit holder’s signature; and
  5. a recent photograph of the permit holder that:
  • shows the holder’s full face; and
  • meets any requirements that are considered appropriate by the Fair Work Commission.

The new entry permits will be the size of a driver’s licence.

 

What is right of entry?

 

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act) and the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), union officials are entitled to enter work premises for a specified purpose, such as:

  1. investigating suspected breaches;
  2. meeting with employees; or
  3. exercising rights under occupational health and safety laws.

 

Requirements for entry

 

In order to enter a work premises, a union official must:

  1. hold a valid and current entry permit;
  2. be entitled to represent workers at the workplace; and
  3. provide a written notice of entry (unless an exemption certificate has been issued), which must be provided at least 24 hours, but not more than 14 days, before the entry is scheduled to take place.

 

Businesses cannot refuse entry

 

It is an offence under the FW Act and the WHS Act to refuse or delay entry, or to hinder or obstruct a permit holder from exercising their access rights.

For more information, please contact CTI Lawyers’ Senior Associate, Lauren Howe, on 1300 361 099 or email lauren.howe@neca.asn.au.