Labour hire providers and hosts should be aware of upcoming and recent changes to the Fair Work Act to ensure they continue to meet their legal obligations.
Some of these changes are already in effect, with further changes being implemented through 2023 and into 2024.
New rules for fixed term contracts
From 6 December 2023, new rules apply when engaging employees on fixed term contracts.
A fixed term contract terminates at the end of a specific period. This includes contracts where the employee is employed for a specific period.
The new rules include:
- a requirement for employers to give any employees they’re engaging on a new fixed term contract a Fixed Term Contract Information Statement (FTCIS)
- limitations on how fixed term contracts can be used.
There are some exceptions to who these rules apply to, learn more on the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) website.
Authorised employee deductions
From 30 December 2023, employees will be able to authorise recurring salary deductions by their employer, for amounts that vary from time to time.
For example, employees may wish to establish payroll deductions for mortgage repayments or other expenses that may be variable.
An employee can make a single written authorisation for the deduction, which can be withdrawn by the employee in writing at any time.
These changes do not weaken the strong rules which govern employer-initiated wage deductions.
Right to superannuation in the National Employment Standards
From 1 January 2024, the National Employment Standards (NES) will include a right to superannuation contributions. This means that unpaid or underpaid superannuation can be enforced under the Fair Work Act by more employees or employee organisations.
Employers already have an obligation to pay superannuation contributions for eligible employees under superannuation guarantee laws. There would be no contravention of the NES provision where an employer has met their obligations under these laws.
Gender equity reporting changes
The Federal Parliament recently passed the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Act 2023 which introduces new requirements for employers with 100 or more employees.
The reforms commence from April 2024 and include:
- mandatory reporting to governing bodies such as company boards
- new data reporting requirements
- a new reporting requirement around sexual harassment and harassment on the ground of sex or discrimination.
More information on these changes is available on the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) website.
Recent changes to the Fair Work Act now in force
Providers and hosts should be aware of changes to the Fair Work Act that have recently come into force, including to:
- unpaid parental leave, from 1 July 2023
- protections for migrant workers, from 1 July 2023
- paid family and domestic violence leave, from 1 February and 1 August 2023.
More information on the changes to the Fair Work Act is available on the FWO website.