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Guide to the Third Round of IR Laws

The Federal Government has announced the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 which introduces a series of further reforms to Australia’s workplace relations and industrial laws.

The Closing Loopholes Bill follows an extensive period of consultation.  Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors worked closely with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Business Industrial and Business NSW as part of the consultation process, providing input to Government to ensure the impact of the reforms on business was understood and, where necessary, addressed.

Given ABLA’s unique position providing feedback to Government and advising industry bodies on the reforms, they have prepared this article to share their insights and to update ASGA members on the specific details of the changes and the impact these changes are likely to have on businesses.

ABLA has published a three-part series explaining the reforms brought in by the Closing Loopholes Bill. Read the full analysis by clicking on each link for the relevant Part below.

Part 1 – Contracts: Casuals and Contractors

  • The new definition of casual employment
  • The new definition determining who is an employee
  • The new ability for the FWC to set minimum standards applicable to ‘employee-like’ forms of work through a digital labour platform (ie, the ‘gig economy’)
  • The new ability to challenge unfair contractual terms.

Part 2 – Pay and Union Reforms

  • The so-called ‘Same Job, Same Pay’ amendments which will provide a new ability to apply for orders that would entitle labour-hire or service workers to the same pay rates as direct employees performing the same work for the same organisation under an enterprise agreement
  • Criminalisation of wage theft
  • New entry rights for unions and training payments for workplace delegates
  • Bargaining changes including new powers of the FWC to issue model terms for enterprise agreements, amendments to allow parties to voluntarily replace a supported bargaining or a single interest agreement with a single enterprise agreement at any time
  • Measures to address the impact of the small business redundancy exemption in winding up scenarios to support equitable outcomes for claimants under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee.

Part 3 – Road Transport

  • The ability for the FWC to set minimum standards applicable to workers engaged in the Road Transport Industry (including so-called ‘owner drivers’)
  • The introduction of collective agreements for road transport contractors (again, this applies primarily to owner-drivers)
  • A new regulation making power for the Minister in relation to the ‘Road Transport Contract Chain’
  • The introduction of a new expert panel for the road transport industry and advisory body.

We have provided a detailed analysis on each of these areas on our website, which you can access directly via the links above.

If you wish to discuss how these latest reforms will impact your business, ASGA Members can contact the team from Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors directly by calling the ASGA Workplace Advice Line on 13 29 59 and quoting the member access Account Number.

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