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On 4 September 2023, the Federal Government introduced the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 (Cth) (Bill) in the House of Representatives.
This Bill is significant, with the first reading of the Bill running to 278 pages and covering 28 distinct parts. It proposes reforms that will have a substantial impact on employers, employees, principals, and contractors. In many respects, the Bill proposes even more significant change than was contained within the pages of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay amending legislation which commenced on 6 December 2022.
The Bill is a clear indication of the Federal Government’s continuing robust agenda for industrial relations reform.
Amendments to the Bill passed the House of Representatives on 29 November 2023. The most significant of these related to casual employment, same job, same pay orders (also known as regulated labour hire arrangement orders), minimum standards for employee-like workers and Fair Work Commission powers in the context of intractable bargaining. The Senate has referred the Bill to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee. The Committee has held public hearings and sought stakeholders’ submissions on the Bill and is required to report back to the Senate by 1 February 2024. Following the release of the report, the Government will re-introduce the Bill to the Senate which may take some weeks or months to pass the Bill. The Senate must also consider any further amendments proposed by the Government, Opposition or cross bench. HSF will keep across any developments about the Bill as it moves through the legislative process.
Our thoughts on the top 5 likely implications of the Bill are as follows:
Our full summary provides an overview of the key elements of the Bill and what it means for Australian employers.
Over the course of the last few months, we have been keeping a close eye on industrial relations reform. Some of our insights can be found on our Australian Industrial Relations and Workplace Reform Hub, or on our dedicated industrial relations video podcast, InsideIR.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our team if you would like to discuss the reforms, or how best to deal with them, including if a tailored briefing session would be of interest.
This article was originally published on 5 September 2023 and updated on 7 September 2023, 11 September 2023 and 6 December 2023 .
The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only and may not be current as at the date of accessing this publication. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.
© Herbert Smith Freehills 2023