IR Laws – What is happening?
The Federal Government is continuing to make highly significant and disruptive changes to Australia’s workplace relations landscape.
The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 was the first tranche of reforms, rushed through Parliament late last year without genuine consultation. Our view remains unchanged. These reforms add cost and complexity to running a business in Australia. That means investment, jobs and wages are all being put at risk.
The second tranche of the reforms – the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Protecting Worker Entitlements) Act 2023 – is now in force and largely non-controversial.
The third tranche of reforms – the Fair Work Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 – is now before Parliament.
CCIWA is vigorously opposed to these reforms. They have the potential to have pervasive and unintended consequences, particularly with the increased power of the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
We’re committed to keeping you informed and preparing you for the changes. We’re also committed to advocating strongly on your behalf.
IR Law Timeline Changes in WA
Find more information on each tranche of the IR reforms for Western Australia
- Changes to initiating bargaining that allow unions to commence bargaining to replace expired enterprise agreements
- FWC can deal with minor enterprise agreement errors
- Termination process for enterprise agreements is now more limited
- New FWC expert panels are being appointed
- Sexual harassment orders and FWC Applications available to employees
- Reverse onus of proof for sexual harassment in the workplace
- ROC/ABCC have been abolished
- Changes to EA approval process, including a new Statement of Principles on Genuine Agreement
- Changes to the better off overall test (BOOT)
- New single interest and supported bargaining streams (multi-employer bargaining)
- Changes to bargaining disputes, including increased avenues for arbitration
- Changes to protected industrial action
- Changes to flexible working requests and unpaid parental leave requests
- Penalties for pay secrecy and new workplace rights for employees
- Notification to employees due for pre-reform agreements
- Fixed and maximum term contracts will be limited to two years (including extensions)
- Sunsetting of pre-reform agreements
- Inclusion of Superannuation entitlements in the NES
- More flexibility for unpaid parental leave under the NES
- Workplace determinations for EA matters
- Changes to deductions from wages
- Casuals treated the same as permanent EEs under Coal Mining LSL Scheme
- Greater protections for migrant workers
- Narrowing the definition of casual employment and implementing anti-avoidance provisions with significant financial penalties
- Creating a new definition of “employment” which will make it more difficult to differentiate between contractors and employees
- “Same Job, Same Pay” for labour hire workers
- Minimum standards for “employee-like” forms of work in the gig economy and the road transport industry
- Criminalisation of “wage theft”
- Strengthening protections under discrimination law
- Developing a single national framework for labour hire regulation
IR Reform Webinars
CCIWA is dedicated in advocating for businesses in WA but we are also here to support businesses in providing our Members with information on each tranche required for your business.
IR Reforms Unpacked
Watch our webinar to gain insights into how the Federal Government’s Fair Work Legislation (Closing Loopholes) Bill, currently under consideration in Parliament, could potentially affect WA businesses.
The proposed changes could have far-reaching and significant effects that businesses need to be aware of.
The webinar will outline some of the proposed changes including:
- A new definition of a casual employee
- ‘Same Job, Same Pay’ for labour hire workers
- Minimum standards for ‘employee-like’ forms of work
- Criminalisation of ‘wage theft’
- Strengthening protections under discrimination law
- Increased rights for union delegates
IR Reforms Unpacked - Part #1
Watch this webinar on overview of the Federal Government’s Secure Jobs, Better Pay changes to employment laws to understand proposed seismic shifts to Australia’s workplace relations system, including extensive changes to the Fair Work Act, an overhaul of enterprise agreement rules, modifications to fixed-term contracts, additional arbitration avenues, and amendments addressing gender and pay equity, ensuring employers stay informed and prepare effectively. This webinar will help to:
- Gain insights into the proposed changes to the Fair Work Act and their impact on workplace relations.
- Learn about the overhaul of enterprise agreement rules and modifications to fixed-term contracts.
- Understand amendments addressing gender and pay equity and their implications for businesses.
IR Reforms Unpacked - Part #2
Watch this webinar for a comprehensive overview of the Federal Government’s changes to employment laws involving the upcoming changes to employment contracts, such as revised limits on fixed-term and maximum term contracts, exceptions to new limitations, pay secrecy clauses, new workplace rights for employees under the Fair Work Act, changes related to underpayment claims, and revised rules for job advertisements, equipping attendees with the knowledge and necessary steps to avoid being caught off guard. This webinar will help to:
- Understand the upcoming changes to employment contracts, including revised limits on fixed-term and maximum term contracts.
- Learn about exceptions that apply to new limitations and the impact of pay secrecy clauses.
- Gain insights into new workplace rights for employees, changes regarding underpayment claims, and revised rules for job advertisements.
IR Reforms Unpacked - Part #3
Watch this webinar to get an understanding of the changes to Enterprise Agreements and bargaining as a result of the Government’s Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act, including an overview of the new rules around bargaining and the multi-employer bargaining regime. This webinar will help to:
- Understand the new areas of enterprise bargaining, including single-interest authorisations and supported bargaining
- Learn about changes to the bargaining process such as how the BOOT will be different and the new rules around initiating bargaining
- Gain insight into the new powers of the Fair Work Commission in respect to arbitrating disputes that arise during enterprise bargaining
IR Reforms Unpacked - Part #4
Watch this webinar to gain insights into the new Respect@work laws, which now impose a positive duty on employers to proactively implement reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and victimisation in the workplace, equipping businesses with the knowledge and tools to take meaningful action in preventing harassment. This webinar will help to:
- Understand the implications of the new Respect@work laws and the positive duty they place on employers to combat sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and victimization.
- Learn about the significance of actively taking meaningful action to prevent workplace harassment and how it impacts businesses.
- Engage in an audience Q&A session to address specific questions and discover practical measures to better prepare your business in response to these changes.
IR Reforms Unpacked - Part #5
Watch this webinar for an informative update on the IR law reforms. Gain insights into the already implemented reforms, receive a comprehensive overview of the changes set to take effect and impact businesses starting from June 6, and understand what lies ahead for the second half of the year, including discussions on topics such as “Same Job, Same Pay”, “Employee-Like” Forms of Work, Criminalisation of ‘Wage Theft,’ and adjustments to the definition of ‘casual employment. This webinar will help to:
- Stay updated on the already implemented IR law reforms and their implications.
- Understand the changes that will begin to affect businesses from June 6 and other important dates to be aware of.
- Gain insights into future developments in the second half of the year, including key topics like Same Job, Same Pay, Employee-Like Forms of Work, Criminalisation of ‘Wage Theft,’ and adjustments to the definition of ‘casual employment’.
These IR Reforms means changes for businesses. We’re here to keep you informed.
Gain a crucial advantage by staying informed about the IR Reforms and their profound impact on businesses. CCIWA Members enjoy exclusive access to the IR Reforms Webinars for free, enabling them to navigate these changes confidently, mitigate risks, and seize opportunities, ensuring their business remains compliant and informed on the issues that matter most. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to equip yourself with the latest IR Reform knowledge and insights.
CCIWA holds deep concerns that the government’s Same Job, Same Pay proposal has the potential to create serious, longstanding consequences for the WA business community, particular sectors that rely on labour hire service providers to fill critical staffing gaps.
If the Same Job, Same Pay was introduced as intended, without a rigorous Impact Analysis, and it was broad in scope capturing other service contracting arrangements, we believe this policy would have significant social and economic consequences for the WA business community.
“We engage labour hire to supplement our existing staff to ensure there is sufficient staff to manage our clients in our accommodation units. There are several labour hire providers that we use. The smaller labour hire providers won’t be able to deal with this level of complexity, and if we don’t have sufficient staffing options available, then this will have a direct impact on service delivery”.
As in the case of the ‘Same Job, Same Pay’ proposal, CCIWA holds deep concerns that all independent contractors will be inadvertently captured within this proposal and subject to the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) unfettered powers.
If this is the intended purpose, we suggest this will be a costly impost, applying onerous administrative complexity and unwarranted expectations on business owners, particularly the small and family-run businesses. This would be especially damaging to the WA economy.
CCIWA holds the view that a new criminal offence should only apply to deliberate behaviour that incorporates the elements of ordinary theft offences, where there is evidence of a deliberate intention to permanently deprive employees of their wages in a dishonest way.
As such, we do not support criminalising ‘recklessness-based wage underpayments’, which are due to accidental mistakes and non-deliberate behaviour.
We argued that the complexity of the system of Awards in Australia (Federal and State Governments) is the principal driver of cases of underpayment and non-payment of wages.
Do you need help with the IR Reform Bill?
CCIWA is home to some of Australia’s best workplace relations experts. We are the largest not-for-profit business network in WA and are independent from Government.
We offer all the services, advice, and resources you need to assist with the IR Reform changes.
If you’re a Member, you have access to our Employee Relations helpline. They can:
- Explain how this can impact your business and how you can minimise the risk
- Confirm your obligations to employees under the new Bill
- Provide advice on your existing situation and where you might be at risk from the changes