Do Enterprise Agreement votes need to be private?

Do Enterprise Agreement votes need to be private?

An employer may request that any employee that is covered by a proposed enterprise agreement, approves the agreement by voting for it. The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) provides that an employer cannot request an employee to vote on an enterprise agreement until the employer has met 3 requirements:

  1. Taken all reasonable steps to give a copy of the enterprise agreement and any material that will be incorporated into the agreement to an employee who will be covered by the enterprise agreement sometime during the access period.
  1. Taken all reasonable steps to provide access to a copy of the agreement and any material that will be incorporated into the agreement throughout the access period.
  2. Taken all reasonable steps to notify an employee of the time and place of the vote, and the voting method that will be used before the start of the access period.

The Access period is defined as the 7 day period ending immediately before the start of the voting process.

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) does not mandate a particular voting method. The voting method is at the discretion of the employer. So the employer may ask you to vote in a private manner, such as by a ballot, or they can ask you to vote in a public manner by a show of hands at a meeting.  The most common voting methods are:

  • Attendance voting; either by ballot or by a show of hands at a meeting
  • Postal voting
  • Online Voting
  • Telephone Voting

Both public and private voting methods are permitted by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

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