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Closing Loopholes: Recent Changes to the Fair Work Act

Welcome to another episode of the Work Wonders Podcast, brought to you by Aster HR. In this episode, we explore the Closing Loopholes Bill and explain what’s relevant for you to know now. Listen here

Here’s a summary of what we discussed:

 

In a significant move to strengthen workplace laws and protect employee rights, the Australian Government has introduced the ‘Closing Loopholes’ laws, resulting in key amendments to the Fair Work Act. These changes, which began rolling out on 15 December 2023, are designed to address various aspects of employment law, with more alterations set to take effect this year and in 2025.

 

Key Changes Under the New Laws:

  1. Labour Hire Worker Rules: New regulations have been introduced to ensure fair treatment and rights for labour hire workers.
  2. Discrimination Protections: Enhanced protections are now in place for employees who experience family and domestic violence, safeguarding their rights and wellbeing in the workplace.
  3. Small Business Redundancy Rules: Specific changes have been made regarding redundancy rules in small businesses, aiming to balance the needs of employers and the rights of employees.
  4. Workplace Delegate Rights: The laws strengthen the rights of workplace delegates, ensuring they can effectively represent and support their fellow employees.
  5. Right of Entry Rules: Amendments have been made to the rules governing the right of entry to workplaces, affecting how union officials and other representatives access work sites.
  6. Criminalisation of Wage Theft: A critical change is the criminalisation of intentional underpayment of wages. This significant measure, set to start no earlier than 1 January 2025, aims to deter wage theft and protect employees from exploitation.

 

The Fair Work Ombudsman is in the process of updating their website with detailed information, tools, and resources to reflect these changes. While these updates are underway, employers and employees can get a comprehensive summary of these changes at the Closing Loopholes: Fair Work Act changes page and this PDF.

 

The ‘Closing Loopholes’ laws mark a significant step in enhancing fairness and transparency in Australian workplaces. These amendments to the Fair Work Act reflect a concerted effort to close gaps in existing legislation, offering greater protection and clarity for both employers and employees. As these changes are implemented, staying informed and adaptable is key to navigating this evolving legal landscape successfully.

 

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Additional Resources
Visit our resources page for more detailed information and resources. For more comprehensive insights, you can also find earlier episodes that delve into topics mentioned in today’s discussion.

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About Susan Rochester

Susan is Senior Consultant and Coach at Aster HR. She also co-hosts the Work Wonders podcast with Angela Gauci. With over 20 years experience in consulting and coaching, Susan provides clarity and insights for our clients based on past experience and the latest research.

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