There has been a lot of media coverage about the Bill which has been debated in Parliament in recent months − the ‘Secure Jobs, Better Pay’ Bill – which seeks to amend the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). The Bill was passed on 2 December 2022 and received royal assent four days later.

In early 2023, we will provide a more detailed overview of the key amendments in a series on these landmark changes. We have summarised those key changes and the potential impact on your business below.

What are the main changes?

  • more regulation of fixed-term contracts: a cap on the term, and restrictions on rolling fixed-term contracts, so that a fixed-term contract cannot be extended or rolled over more than once
  • prohibitions on pay secrecy clauses – it will become unlawful for employers to prohibit employees from discussing their pay conditions with each other
  • change to the current enterprise bargaining processes, including changing the Better Off Overall Test (BOOT)
  • change to the flexible working provisions in the National Employment Standards
  • expansion of multi-enterprise agreements, so that the Fair Work Commission can authorise ‘single-interest’ agreements covering multiple employers
  • a broad prohibition against sexual harassment in connection with work, which will apply to both employees and prospective employees
  • abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

What will it mean for my business?

The impact on businesses of the changes will vary depending on the industry, especially the prevalence of enterprise bargaining in that industry.
Whenever there are changes to the Fair Work Act, it is a timely reminder to review your employment contracts and practices. Noting the above likely changes, employers should pay particular attention to:

  • employment contracts, especially fixed-term contracts and clauses requiring confidentiality of pay conditions
  • sexual harassment policies, to ensure that they take a proactive approach to meet the positive duty held by employers
  • policies regarding flexible working conditions.

How We Can Help?

The Employment team will provide further updates in respect of the new legislation. In the meantime, if you require any assistance with review of your employment practices, please contact our team on 02 6285 8000  or via email.