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The Fair Work Act has changed again!
25 July 2023
The Fair Work Act has changed again…
In June 2023, The Australian Government passed the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Protecting Worker Entitlements) Act 2023. This means there are some changes to the Fair Work Act which have already come into effect, or will come into effect in the next year.
Changes to unpaid parental leave
From the 1st July 2023, there will be greater flexibility for employees who are taking unpaid parental leave.
Employees taking unpaid parental leave can now take up to 100 days of their 12 month leave entitlement flexibly during the 24 months after the birth or adoption of their child. Previously this was 30 days.
Pregnant employees can access their flexible unpaid parental leave up to 6 weeks before the expected date of birth of their child.
Concurrent leave is now allowed which means employees can take unpaid parental leave at the same time as their spouse or de facto partner. Both parents will be able to take up to 12 months unpaid parental leave at any time within 24 months of their child’s birth or placement. They can also both apply for an extension of up to 12 months beyond the initial 12 month leave amount.
Interaction between enterprise agreements and workplace determinations
In some circumstances, the Fair Work Commission is now able to make a workplace determination that sets terms and conditions of employment, replacing an enterprise agreement. When a workplace determination covering an employee is made, the previous enterprise agreement no longer applies to that employee.
Protections for migrant workers
Migrant workers continue to have rights and entitlements regardless of their migration status under the Migration Act 1958. A breach of this Act doesn’t affect the validity of an employment contract or a contract for services. This means that employees on visas continue to have the same rights as every other employee regardless of their visa or a breach of their visa conditions.
Authorised employee deductions
From 30 December 2023, employees will be able to authorise salary deductions that are recurring and for amounts that vary from time to time.
This means an employee can make a single written authorisation that allows their employer to deduct amounts from their salary even where the deduction amount may vary from year to year. It can be withdrawn by the employee in writing at any time.
Right to superannuation in the National Employment Standard
From 1 January 2024, the National Employment Standards will be expanded to include a right to superannuation contributions. This means that unpaid or underpaid superannuation can be enforced under the Fair Work Act as well as the ATO. As the requirement to pay Superannuation to employees is not changing, this should have minimal impact on employers.
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