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Fair Work Legislation Amendment - what it means for employers and employees

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

In December 2022 the Federal Government passed legislation to amend employment laws. This is a short summary of the changes brought about by the Secure Jobs Better Pay Act 2022 that affect your business. Thank you to Dean Groundwater of WMD Law.


Pay Secrecy Clauses

From 7 December 2022 a pay secrecy clause or confidentiality clause in an employment contract that restricts employees from disclosing their remuneration or other terms and conditions of employment are invalid.

Action

By 7 June 2023 remove pay secrecy and other offending terms in employment contract templates or risk a fine of up to $16,500.


Fixed Term Employment Contracts

From 6 December 2023 Fixed Term Employment Contracts exceeding 2 years or that may be extended more than once, are prohibited.

Action

From 6 December 2023 a Fixed Term Contract Information Statement must be provided to employees with any fixed term contract. Failure to do so may result in a fine of up to $16,500. If a business wishes to continue to use fixed term employment contracts it should consider whether one of the exceptions to this rule applies to the business and its employees.


Flexible Work Requests

From 6 June 2023 the categories of employees who can request flexible working arrangements broadens to include:

  1. pregnant employees and their immediate family members; and

  2. those who experience family or domestic violence.

That means employees in the following categories can request flexible work arrangement; parents of a child who is school aged or younger, a carer, a person with a disability, a person 55 years or older; pregnant employees and those who are experiencing family or domestic violence.


There are new obligations on employers before a request for a flexible working arrangement can be refused. If a request is refused the employer must provide a written response to the employee within 21 days. An employee dissatisfied with a refusal now has the right to challenge that decision in the Fair Work Commission.

Action

Employers ought to consider whether any of the legitimate circumstances for refusing a request apply to their business.


Extension of Unpaid Parental Leave

An employee on parental leave may request an extension of unpaid parental leave for 12 months (a total of 24 months leave).


An employer who refuses a request for an extension must provide a written response to the employee within 21 days. An employee dissatisfied with a refusal now has the right to challenge that decision in the Fair Work Commission.

Action

Employers ought to consider whether any of the legitimate circumstances for refusing a request apply to their business.

Workplace Sexual Harassment Disputes

Claims of sexual harassment in the workplace can now be brought in the Fair Work Commission for determination.

There are likely to be more claims.

Action

Educate employees and re-enforce the consequences to perpetrators of sexual harassment in the workplace.


For more information contact your Client Manager.




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