Recently, Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke announced that the Federal Government had reached an agreement with the Greens and independent Senator David Pocock to pass the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill* through the Senate.
To gain Senator Pocock's support, the Government agreed to:
- Implement all recommendations from the Senate inquiry into the Bill, including:
- increasing the number of employees needed to exclude a business from the multi-employer bargaining scheme from 15 to 20; and
- making it easier for businesses with fewer than 50 employees to opt out of multi-employer bargaining;
- Give the Minister power to designate which occupations are able to participate in the low-paid bargaining stream; and
- Introduce an independent Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee to review the adequacy of support payments (eg JobSeeker) ahead of each federal budget, which will presumably be achieved through other legislation.
The Government’s deal with the Greens means that:
- the “Better Off Overall Test” (BOOT) will continue to require a consideration of both current and prospective employees to be covered by the relevant enterprise agreement; and
- the Government will introduce an enforceable right to request unpaid parental leave.
We will provide further updates in the coming weeks as the amended legislation is considered by the House of Representatives.
Respect@Work Bill Passes
In related news, the Respect at Work Bill** passed Federal Parliament earlier this week and will require employers to prevent sexual harassment and sex discrimination within their organisation by taking positive steps to eliminate or mitigate underlying contributing factors.
We recommend employers review and update their policies and procedures to ensure compliance with these new laws which will come into effect soon.
If you have any questions on the proposed legislative changes, please contact our experienced Employment and Workplace Law team.
*Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022
**Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Bill 2022