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Closing Loophole Bill adds to small business 'IR Fatigue'

8 Sep 2023 1:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The Federal Government has announced the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 which proposes amendments to the current employment and industrial relations system.

Some proposed changes from 1 July 2024 include:

  • Casuals will be able to request to convert to permanent employees after 6 months (or 12 months for small businesses)
  • An employee may only be considered a casual worker if there is an absence of a firm commitment to continuing and indefinite work.

Contracts may no longer determine or classify how an employee is employed.

Casuals with a definite pattern of work will be able to provide their employers with a written notification that they believe they no longer meet the requirements of a casual employment engagement.

For small businesses, casuals can request this conversion after 12 months.

For all other businesses, casuals can request this after 6 months.

Employers have 21 days to provide a detailed reason if they decline.

New minimum standards and conditions for gig economy workers

Some proposed changes include that:

  • Unions representing gig economy workers would have a new ability to make collective agreements with digital labour platforms

Employee-like workers would have a new ability to apply to the Commission for assistance if they consider they have been unfairly deactivated by a digital labour platform.

The Commission has broad discretion to decide what terms and conditions will be set as minimum standards. For example, standards could include terms about payment terms, deductions, working time and insurance.

Other elements of the proposed bill include:

  • Greater legal protection for unfair contract terms for employees
  • Require employers to pay labour-hire employees the same as directly employed employees
  • Expanded powers of FWC to permit union right of entry in suspected wage underpayment cases
  • Same job, same pay for labour-hire employees
  • Criminal offences for deliberate wage theft

(Article from Restaurant & Catering Australia)

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