“Closing Loopholes” Workplace Law Changes. The Right to Disconnect and more.

The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 introduces several significant changes aimed at closing loopholes in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). Here are the key amendments:

  1. Casual Employment: The Bill clarifies the definition of casual employment and provides a pathway for casual employees to convert to permanent employment if they have been employed for a certain period and meet specific criteria.
  2. Gig Economy Workers: The Bill extends certain employment protections to gig economy workers, ensuring they receive fair pay and conditions similar to traditional employees.
  3. Labour Hire: The Bill introduces measures to ensure that labour hire workers receive the same pay and conditions as directly employed workers performing the same work.
  4. Wage Theft: The Bill strengthens penalties for wage theft, making it easier to prosecute employers who underpay their workers.
  5. Superannuation: The Bill mandates that superannuation contributions be paid on the same day as wages, ensuring timely payment of superannuation entitlements.
  6. Job Security: The Bill includes provisions to enhance job security, such as limiting the use of fixed-term contracts and ensuring that workers are not unfairly dismissed.
  7. Gender Equality: The Bill introduces measures to promote gender equality in the workplace, including requirements for employers to report on gender pay gaps and take action to address them.
  8. Union Rights: The Bill strengthens the rights of unions to represent workers and access workplaces, ensuring that workers can effectively exercise their right to collective bargaining.
  9. Right to Disconnect: Employees will have the right to refuse contact outside their working hours unless that refusal is unreasonable. This means an employee can refuse to monitor, read or respond to contact from an employer or a third party. The Bill also directs the inclusion of a “right to disconnect” term within all modern awards.

These changes aim to provide greater protection and fairness for workers, addressing various loopholes that have been exploited under the current legislation. Many of these changes come into play during the 2025 financial year. Employers should review their workplace policies.

Contact us if you feel any of these changes may concern you.