There have been a number of changes and additions to Australian workplace relations legislation. The new laws represent significant changes to Australia’s workplace industrial relations systems and will have an impact across all Australian workplaces.

These industrial reform changes are due to the passing of the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill in December 2022. This is one of the most comprehensive industrial relation reforms since the Fair Work Act was introduced in 2009, along with The Respect@Work bill which was passed in November 2022. 

These changes have significant consequences for employers if they do not take steps to align with all legislative requirements. Business owners must ensure they understand their new obligations and have appropriate systems and processes in place to comply. 

Some of the new reforms include:

  • Anti-discrimination – new protected attributes in the Fair Work Act
  • Changes to annual shutdown provisions
  • Family and Domestic Violence Leave
  • Limited the use of fixed-term contracts
  • Flexible Work Arrangements
  • Gender equality measures and small claims process
  • Job Advertisement
  • Prohibiting pay secrecy
  • Multi-enterprise bargaining
  • Psychosocial Workplace Hazards
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Unpaid parental leave

Some of these new laws started on 7 December 2022, while others will commence throughout 2023.

There will also be a second portion of significant workplace relations law changes proposed by the Government, which will be introduced into Parliament in the second half of 2023. 

To provide a brief overview of each of the reforms would be difficult, therefore ACFA has supplied material on the above to members and the industry via email alerts. ACFA also provides a collection of resources available on their website, including fact sheets, checklists, policies and risk assessments to address some of these changes and how employers can prepare to meet these new challenges. (Some of these resources are available to members only).

Don’t get caught out 

It is important that employers are familiar with these changes, particularly given that some of them impose significant obligations on employers with harsh penalties for noncompliance. These changes are extensive, and employers will require a thorough review of their policies, procedures, employment contracts, training, and accommodating requests for flexible working arrangements to ensure compliance and mitigate possible implications to their business. 

ACFA Members can contact the workplace advice team with unlimited calls to assist with navigating these changes. Further resources are accessible on the ACFA website. 

ACFA will continue to keep members updated on these changes to guide businesses as they navigate the ever-changing landscape of workplace legislation and regulations.