Are You Allowed To Vote Online For Your Enterprise Agreement?January 23, 2019
When it comes to negotiating an enterprise agreement and the availability of technology, one question frequently comes to mind: can the vote be conducted online rather than a physical ballot? Is this permissible under the Fair Work Act 2009 (FWAct) or is it the same as a parliamentary election where voting cannot be conducted by electronic means?
The answer is YES.
The FWAct s18s(3) specifically provides that the employers may request their employees to approve an enterprise agreement through online voting.
The relevant section of the FWAct reads as follows:
Employers may request employees to approve a proposed enterprise agreement
(1) An employer that will be covered by a proposed enterprise agreement may request the employees employed at the time who will be covered by the agreement to approve the agreement by voting for it;
(2) The request must not be made until at least 21 days after the day on which the last notice under subsection 173(1) (which deals with giving notice of employee representational rights) in relation to the agreement is given;
(3) Without limiting subsection (1), the employer may request that the employees vote by ballot or by an electronic method.
The most important thing is to take all means possible to ensure employees have access to the written text of the agreement and any material incorporated by reference in the agreement. Employees must have access to this for the full 7 to 8 days preceding the vote.
Vero can assist here by allowing your enterprise agreement to be hosting online (and securely) via our online Information portal. Your employees can login and access all the relevant documents from anywhere in the world. We’ve written about the step-by-step voting process to help your employees understand the procedure.