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Changes to workplace laws


The Australian Government has passed the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022.

This legislation amends the Fair Work Act to change a number of existing rules ad introduces some new workplace laws.


Some key changes come into effect on 7 December 2022, some will come in down the track a little - we will keep you up to date as changes which may affect how you employ your team members are implemented.


Pay secrecy

New workplace rights allow employees to share information about their pay and employment terms and conditions (such as would be required to work out their pay, like hours of work etc). This applies to current, future and past employees. It's now a workplace right to be able to ask or be asked about this information, but an employee has no obligation to provide the information if asked and they don't wish to share pay details.

In reality, employees have long shared this information, but many employment contracts have had pay secrecy clauses or organisations have had pay secrecy clauses in policies, enabling organisations to take action against employee's found to be sharing such information. Because of these new workplace rights, employers can no longer prevent employees from sharing pay details, nor take action against them for doing so. This change came into effect from 7 December 2022.


Anti-discrimination

From December 2022 three (3) new protected attributes at work have been added, these are:

  • breastfeeding

  • gender identity

  • intersex status

These are in addition to the existing protected attributes which are: race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family or carer's responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction, social origin.

Protected attributes provides employees the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of a protected attribute, including adverse action taken by an employer (such as firing an employee, changing an employee's job to their disadvantage, treating an employee differently to others, not hiring someone, offering different and unfair terms and condition of employment).


Job ads

From early January 2023, Job ads must not include pay rates or employment conditions that are lower than the minimum entitlements for that job. Fines can be applied for employers who advertise jobs with pay and/or conditions that breach either the Fair Work Act or the applicable Award or Enterprise Agreement. Employers currently advertising jobs should check that all current job ads are compliant as this requirement applies from the 7th January 2023, even to jobs posted prior to that date.


Flexible work

From early June 2023, the right to request flexible working arrangements expands to include:

  • employees, or a member of their immediate family or household, experiencing family and domestic violence

  • employees who are pregnant

As with existing flexible working requests, there is a formal process for both parties to follow, to ensure clarity of the circumstances, what's being requested, due consideration being undertaken, efforts to find a feasible solution are mutually explored, the outcome is documented.

The Fair Work Commission is able to hear and make orders about disputes relating to flexible working arrangement requests where the dispute can't be resolved within the workplace.


Fixed term contracts

In late 2023 there will be major changes to the ability of employers to use fixed term contracts where work is ongoing.

Humanistic HR will provide a specific update on this change in due course.


As always, if you have any questions as to how these changes may impact your workplace or compliance, reach out for a confidential chat.



Source: Fair Work Ombudsman

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