Employer Assist: Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill

On 2 December, The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022 (Bill) passed Parliament.

The Bill amends workplace laws relating to bargaining, job security, gender equity, compliance and enforcement, workplace conditions and protections and more. The amendments will be made to existing legislation once the Bill is formally accepted by the Governor-General (Royal Assent) or such later date as set out in the Act.

Some examples of changes include:

Promotion of pay transparency by prohibiting pay secrecy – employees will have a workplace right to disclose their remuneration or any terms and conditions of their employment that are reasonably necessary to determine remuneration outcomes and employees will also be permitted to ask other employees about that information. Any terms of an employment contract which are inconsistent with this workplace rights will have no effect, and an employer who enters a contract which contains a provision inconsistent with this workplace rights after they come into effect will contravene the Fair Work Act.

Prohibition of sexual harassment in the workplace – the Fair Work Act will expressly prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace and provide a new avenue for workers to seek compensation.

Anti-discrimination – “Breastfeeding”, “gender identity” and “intersex status” definitions will be included into the anti-discrimination provisions of the Fair Work Act.

Bargaining and enterprise agreements – there will be extensive changes to provisions relating to enterprise agreements, bargaining, the better off overall test and the FWC’s powers.

Fixed term contracts – there will be significant amendments to limit the use of fixed term contracts. For example, the Fair Work Act will limit the fixed-term contracts for the same or substantially similar role to two consecutive contracts or a maximum duration of two years subject to certain exceptions.

Flexible work – new provisions expand the circumstances in which an employee may request flexible work arrangements (e.g. to include situations of family and domestic violence) and empower the FWC to resolve disputes. Employers will now be required to meet with employees to discuss requests for flexible work arrangements and cannot refuse a request before discussing alternative working arrangements with employees.

Small claims – small claims procedures will be amended to enable recovery of (and increase the monetary cap on) unpaid entitlements.

Prohibition on advertising rate of pay that would contravene the Fair Work Act – penalties will be introduced for employers who advertise jobs at a rate of pay that would contravene the Fair Work Act or relevant award or enterprise agreement.

and more.

Employer Assist will provide further information on these changes in due course. In the meantime, please contact Employer Assist on (07) 3376 6266 or hvia@employerassist.com.au if you wish to discuss.

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