Holding discussions with employees

A union official, who holds a valid federal right of entry permit, known as a permit holder, has the right to enter building sites and other premises to hold discussions with employees who are members or eligible to be members and who wish to participate in those discussions during meal/ break times.

Which employees can discussions be held with?

A permit holder can hold discussions with employees who:

  • work on that site
  • are entitled to be represented by the permit holder’s union
  • wish to participate in discussions.

What must a union official do before entering a site?

An entry notice must be given to the occupier of the site at least 24 hours but not more than 14 days before the entry. The permit holder must also produce the entry notice to the occupier of the site on request when entering the site.

The Fair Work Commission is able to issue an exemption from this requirement, however the exemption certificate must be given to:

  • the site occupier, or
  • another person who apparently represents the occupier and any affected employer.

The exemption certificate must be provided as soon as possible after an official enters the site if the relevant person is present at the site.

What must be included in the entry notice?

The entry notice must include:

  • the site or premises to be entered
  • the day of entry
  • which union the union official belongs to
  • the section of the Fair Work Act 2009 that authorises entry
  • a declaration by the union official that they are entitled to represent the industrial interests of an employee who performs work on the site
  • the provision of the union’s rules that entitles the union to represent the employee.

Need to know more about holding discussions with employees?

NOTE: Forms relating to entry to premises such as an entry permit, entry notice or exemption certificates are available on the Fair Work Commission Link opens external website in new tab website.

Need more information?

For further information, advice or assistance please contact the ABCC at 1800 003 338 or enquiry [at] abcc.gov.au.