CHANGE TO PUBLIC HOLIDAY RULES
A recent decision handed down by the full Federal Court on BHP has clarified what a business needs to do in order to make a compliant request to employees to work on a public holiday.
Employers must ask employees if they want to work a public holiday and cannot just automatically roster them on a public holiday.
The court said ‘the requirement that there be a ‘request’ rather than a unilateral command prompts the capacity for discussion, negotiation and a refusal.
The court said that Employers could include public holidays in rosters as long as the Employer ‘ensures that Employees understand either that the roster is in draft …. or where a request is made before the roster is finalized.’
An employer could still require an Employee to work on a public holiday if the Employee’s refusal was unreasonable given the nature of the work, reasonable employer expectations, the type of employment and the level of pay.
A BHP spokesperson said that ‘we are reviewing the decision and considering appeal options.’ BHP has 28 days to appeal the decision.
Be aware of this decision with the Easter public holidays coming up.
CHANGES TO SHUTDOWN PROVISIONS IN MODERN AWARDS
The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has determined to vary shutdown clauses in 78 Modern Awards. These changes will take effect from 1 May 2023.
The changes will result in the following:
- An Employer must give 28 days written notice of any proposed shutdown;
- Where reasonable, an Employer may direct an Employee to take a period of paid annual leave if the Employee has an accrued entitlement;
- Should an Employee not have sufficient annual leave to cover a shutdown period, an Employer and Employer may agree in writing for an Employee to take leave without pay or access paid annual leave in advance;
- Employees will no longer be required to take leave without pay if they do not have sufficient annual leave or have not agreed to take leave in advance.
PAID PARENTAL LEAVE (PPL) – LEGISLATION PASSED TO BOOST PPL BY TWO WEEKS
The Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Improvements for Families and Gender Equality) Bill, which passed on 6 March 2023, extends paid parental from 18 weeks to 20 weeks from 1 July 2023, with two weeks reserved on a “use it or lose it” basis for each claimant. Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay are combining into one payment.
To summarise the changes, the new parental leave entitlements will:
- From 1 July 2023 extend Parental Leave Entitlements to up to 20 weeks at the rate of the national minimum wage.
- Increase leave entitlement by two weeks every year from 1 July 2024 to 1 July 2026 to a total of 26 weeks.
- Set a new threshold limit of $156,647 for individuals and $350,000 for families.
- Be on a “take it or leave it” basis.
For further information refer link https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/parental-leave-pay-and-dad-and-partner-pay-are-changing
CHANGES TO PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES AWARD
The Professional Employees Award will be amended to include the introduction of penalty rates, overtime and time off in lieu.
These changes will not apply to Employees who are paid a salary that is at least 25% higher than their relevant rate for their classification under the Award.
The changes will take effect from the first full pay period that starts on or after 16 September 2023.
TIMELINE – SECURE JOBS, BETTER PAY ACT 2022
We have also attached the timeline, prepared by the FWO, showing key start dates for changes under the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act 2022.
FURTHER TRANCHE OF IR LEGISLATION
The Government is planning further reforms to the Fair Work Laws. Consultations on the measures being considered are underway for introduction in the second half of 2023.
The items being considered are:
- Stand up for casual workers
- Same job, same pay
- Compliance and enforcement: criminalising wage theft
- Extending the powers of the FWC to include ‘employee-like’ forms of work
- Give workers the right to challenge unfair contractual terms
- Allow the FWC to set minimum standards to ensure the road transport industry is safe, sustainable and viable
- Provide stronger protections against discrimination, adverse action and harassment
- A single national framework for labour hire regulation, which could be implemented in place of existing state and territory schemes
- Address the impact of the small business redundancy exemption in winding up scenarios to support equitable outcomes for claimants under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee
- Reforms to enterprise bargaining provisions to close loopholes
- Repeal demerger from registered organisations amalgamation provision
WHAT STEPS DO EMPLOYERS NEED TO TAKE?
Make sure you keep up to date with changes. Contracts of Employment, Policies, Processes may need to be updated.