The Australian Government has taken a step forward in enhancing workers’ rights and addressing various labour-related issues. The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023, which aimed to bring about crucial changes, has been divided into two parts as part of a recent deal. This development comes after negotiations with the Greens and the crossbench to secure the necessary support for the bill.
Key measures that have been approved include:
1. Closing the labour hire loophole, ensuring that labour hire workers receive the same pay for the same job.
2. Criminalizing intentional wage theft to protect employees’ earnings.
3. Strengthening protections against discrimination, especially in cases involving family and domestic violence.
4. Preventing large businesses from exploiting the small business redundancy exemption to avoid redundancy payments.
5. Providing better support for first responders dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
6. Expanding the functions of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency to include silica.
7. Amending the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to introduce the offense of industrial manslaughter.
While these measures are seen as less controversial, there are still more complex and contentious issues to be addressed in the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes No.2) Bill 2023. These include casual employment, definitions of employment, standards for gig economy and road transport industry workers, intractable bargaining workplace determinations, and sham arrangements.
For businesses, particularly those utilizing labour hire workers, these changes could have a significant impact. It’s crucial for employers to closely monitor the progress of these bills and prepare for the evolving industrial landscape in the new year. To learn more about how these changes might affect your business, contact WageSafe today by clicking here to learn more.