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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Chamber Chat: Fair Work Legislation Amendment

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By WCCoC president Allan Milostic

A BUSY couple of weeks to launch us well into December.

The Division 2 election has been held and, with the result too close to call, it is going down to the wire.

It looks so close, that recounts are expected to be requested.

With the Fair Work Legislation Amendment now having passed debate in both houses, it is now only waiting Royal Assent and will take effect, according to the implementation schedule.

There are a myriad of changes that businesses need to be aware of and ensure employment contracts, policies and procedures are in place to comply.

Some changes are great, others quite onerous, especially for small business.

There have been changes in the following areas – gender pay equality, flexible work arrangements, pay secrecy, fixed-term contracts, enterprise agreements, anti-discrimination, sexual harassment, and the introduction of paid family and domestic violence leave.

Most businesses with up-to-date and reasonable processes will have no trouble complying with most of these changes, however, the following areas will need some attention.

Flexible work arrangements – although reasonable business grounds for refusal still exist, a big change is that employees can now raise a dispute with the Fair Work Commission, so be prepared with evidence!

Pay secrecy is a contentious change and is no longer allowed to be written into contracts – effective immediate, pay secrecy clauses are no longer in effect and are prohibited from June 2023.

Employees can discuss pay with others, if they choose, employers can’t.

Fixed-term agreements will be limited to less than two years for the same role, with such contractors’ having the rights of a full-time employee.

Anti-discrimination has been extended but is in line with Queensland legislation already in place.

Employees will have an entitlement to 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave, as a National Employment Standard.

Interestingly, for privacy reasons, it cannot be recorded as FDV Leave.

It sounds like we all have some IR changes to attend to, so the chamber’s first networking event, in February, will focus on just that.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas everyone – enjoy a well earned festive season!

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