During 2022 and 2023, the Australian Government passed several Fair Work legislation amendments. The amendments introduced changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Act), which have come into effect at various dates over the last year.

So you can understand these changes and how you may be affected, we have provided a summary below. If you would like any assistance in managing these changes, please do not hesitate to reach out to Daniel Morgan daniel@morganenglish.com.au and the Workplace + Conduct team at M+E.

7th December 2022:

Disclosing pay and workplace conditions

  • The Act now gives employees and future employees workplace rights to share or not share information about their pay, employment terms and any conditions that relate to their pay.
  • The Act also introduced a workplace right to ask other employees (with the same or a different employer) about their pay. However, employees cannot be forced to give this information against their will.

Anti-discrimination

  • Employers are prohibited from taking adverse action against current or future employees for the following attributes: breastfeeding, gender identity, or intersex status.

New equal remuneration principle

  • The Act now has a new equal remuneration principle to guide the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) consideration of equal remuneration, and work value cases aimed to help the FWC issue pay increases to workers in low-paid, female dominated industries.

Enterprise agreements and enterprise bargaining

7th January 2023:

Job advertisements

  • Job advertisements can no longer include pay rates that would breach the Act or a Fair Work instrument (such as an award or enterprise agreement).

6th March 2023:

Prohibition on workplace sexual harassment

  • From 6 March 2023 the Act prohibits sexual harassment in connection with work, which includes sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • A person or company is now liable for sexual harassment committed by an employee or agent in connection with work, unless they can prove that they took all reasonable steps to prevent the sexual harassment.

Abolition of the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC)

  • The ROC has been abolished and all regulatory powers and functions have transferred to the General Manager of the FWC.

6th June 2023:

Flexible Work Entitlements

  • Changes have been made regarding the rights of employees to request flexible working arrangements and the obligations of employers before they can refuse a request from an employee for a flexible working arrangement.
  • To read more on these changes, read our article Managing Flexible Work Requests.

Changes to unpaid parental leave

1st July 2023:

Changes to unpaid parental leave

  • Several changes mean that the Act provides greater flexibility for employees taking unpaid parental leave.
  • To learn more about these changes, see our article on new parental leave entitlements New Entitlement to Unpaid Parental Leave.

Interaction between enterprise agreements and workplace determinations

  • The FWC can now make a workplace determination that sets terms and conditions of employment which replace an enterprise agreement in some circumstances.

Minimum Wage Increase

  • National minimum wage increases to $882.80 per week or $23.33 per hour.
  • Minimum wages under awards increase by 5.75%.

Protections for migrant workers

  • This change clarifies that migrant workers in Australian continue to have rights and entitlements under workplace laws regardless of their migration status under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) (Migration Act).
  • The change also clarifies that a breach of the Migration Act does not affect the validity of an employment contract or a contract for services.

Increase to superannuation guarantee

  • The superannuation guarantee increases to 11%.

New monetary cap for small claims court

  • The monetary cap for recovering unpaid entitlements via the small claims court has increased to $100,000.

Paid parental leave

  • Changes also to paid parental leave under the current ‘Dad and Partner Pay’ entitlement.

1st August 2023:

Paid family and domestic violence leave

  • Employees of small business employers can now access 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave in a 12-month period.

6th December 2023:

Limits to fixed term contracts

  • Employers can no longer employ an employee on a fixed term contract that is for 2 or more years, or that may be extended more than once.
  • Employers are now required to give Fixed Term Contract Information Statement to employees they are engaging on new fixed term contracts.

30th December 2023:

Authorised employee deductions

  • Employees will be able to make a single written authorisation for salary deductions made by their employer. This includes deductions that are recurring as well as for amounts that vary from time to time.

1st January 2024:

Right to superannuation in the National Employment Standards

  • Ensures most employees covered by the Act have an enforceable right to superannuation.

Casual employees in the black coal mining industry

  • Changes specific to employees in the black coal mining industry, who are now entitled to portable long service leave that goes with them between employers.

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