The federal government will amend unfair dismissal laws under recommended changes to bring the Fair Work Act up to date, Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten says.
Mr Shorten today met union and business representatives of the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council to advise them of Labor's first response to a review of the act released in August.
The government now plans to draft legislation this year to support 17 of the council's 51 recommendations, the most important of which concerns unfair dismissal laws affecting small and medium-sized business.
"We are able to announces changes which will streamline the unfair dismissal system, which don't compromise the fundamental rights of people who have been mistreated to make a claim and which will clean up some of the vexatious behaviour at the margins," he said.
The government will impose a uniform time limit of 21 days for lodging unfair dismissal and general protections claims, shifting from the current limits of 14 days and 60 days, respectively.
Claims that are without merit may be dismissed, and persons making claims that don't have a strong case will have to bear the costs.
"The current system's good, but we're going to make it even better," Mr Shorten said.
The minister said some workplace issues before the council which met in Melbourne remain in dispute, including greenfields agreements and access to arbitration.
"I won't say to you that everyone agreed with everything that I've just gone through in this meeting," Mr Shorten said.
"Certainly, I get the impression they agree with 90 per cent of what we are doing, subject to seeing what we are drafting."
Mr Shorten said there was "more support than not" for the government's first package of reforms.
He did not rule out any of the other recommendations of the Fair Work review.
Labor's Fair Work Act, introduced two-and-a-half years ago, replaced the former coalition government's Work Choices regime.