Non-bargaining changes to Fair Work Act and what this means for your business
The workplace relations system has undergone significant changes following the enactment of the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022.
Produced by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in conjunction with CCIWA, this employer guide provides practical advice and everything your business needs to know regarding the changes to the Fair Work Act (FW Act). Please note, that this guide does not cover the changes to enterprise agreements.
This useful guide is intended to help employers understand the changes, when they will come into force and offer practical advice for complying with new obligations. It is important that employers are familiarised with these changes to avoid harsh penalties for non-compliance. These changes will affect businesses of all sizes across most industries.
The guide should serve as a starting point for understanding new obligations and considering potential vulnerabilities for individual businesses. It does not cover every single aspect of the legislative changes, but rather the substantive provisions – however, if you need further advice or support in respect to the changes, our Employee Relations Advice Centre or team of Workplace Relations Lawyers can assist.
Some of the changes to the FW Act to be aware of include:
Prohibition on pay secrecy terms and limited use of fixed contracts
New employment contracts can no longer require employees to keep their pay secret and fixed term contracts will be capped at 2 years, unless one of the limited exemptions apply. Employers will need to provide any employees on a fixed term contract with the new Fixed Term Contract Information Statement, which will be similar to the existing Information Statement for casual employees.
If you have any employees on fixed term contracts, you should review these to ensure that you will not fall foul of the new laws, and if you are unsure, you should seek advice as you will need to ensure that you are compliant by 6 December 2023.
Flexible working requests
Under the changes, employers have new obligations when responding to employee’s requests for flexible work arrangements. The Fair Work Commission (FWC) now has the power to deal with disputes relating to requests for flexible work through conciliation or arbitration. Employers should familiarise themselves with their new obligations and incorporate them into internal policies and procedures.
Family and domestic violence leave entitlement
All employees will be entitled to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave at their full rate of pay. Additionally, employers are required to keep information regarding the use of family and domestic violence leave confidential, including on employees’ pay slips.
Small claims proceedings increased
The maximum amount of small claim proceedings has been increased. Courts can deal with claims up to $100,000 in small claims proceedings, an increase from the existing $20,000.
New attributes included in the anti-discrimination employment laws
Three new protected attributes have been introduced into the FW Act: breastfeeding, gender identity and intersex status and are now attributes protected from discrimination under the FW Act.
Equal renumeration measures
The FWC has expanded scope to make equal remuneration orders which increase the pay of a particular class of employees in the pursuit of gender pay equity. Additionally, employers in female-dominated industries should engage with their chamber of commerce or industry association in anticipation of potential equal remuneration orders.
To access a complete guide with full list of changes and how these may impact your business, download the full Employer Guide.
For additional advice or support, CCIWA’s Workplace Relations team on 1300 422 492.