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Right of entry laws enable a union official to enter your workplace and investigate a suspected breach of legislation or have discussions with your employees (if registered to represent them), under the Fair Work Act 2009.
The union official (permit holder) can legally enter your premises if they:
- Give the required written notice
- Present a valid entry permit
- Attend during work hours
- Comply with visitor requirements.
Keep a record every time a union official enters your workplace and save all right of entry reports on file to meet auditing requirements.
Right of entry process
Fair Work Act 2009
- s481: Entry to investigate suspected contravention (Flowchart A)
- s484: Entry to hold discussions (Flowchart B)
*From 1 July 2019, the (federal) right of entry permits issued by the Fair Work Commission must include a photo and signature of the permit holder, along with any conditions on its use. The notice of entry forms that must be given to employers will also be required to clearly set out the rules that both union officials and employers must follow when rights of entry are being exercised.
The changes to the notice of entry forms will ensure all parties are aware of their statutory rights and responsibilities, and provide contact details for the appropriate regulator in the event of any queries, which will assist in reducing disputes over right of entry.
The new permits and notice of entry forms will be used from 1 July 2019. Existing permit holders can continue to use their old permits, but from 1 October 2019 they will either have to obtain a new permit or present a Government-issued photo ID along with their old permit, when showing their permit at work sites.
Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- s117: Entry to investigate suspected contravention of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Flowchart C)
- s120: Entry to inspect employee records or information held by another person (Flowchart D)
- s121: Entry to consult and advise workers (Flowchart E).
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