(UPDATE) Further Amendments To Employment Legislation
Part 2 of the Closing Loopholes Bill – which was split into 2 parts in late 2023 – went to parliament last week. Independent Senator David Pocock has affirmed his backing for the passing of the Closing Loopholes No. 2 Bill which is co-sponsored with Senator Jacqui Lambie, pending a comprehensive set of amendments.
The Closing Loopholes Bill No. 2 has garnered support from Labor, the Greens, Lidia Thorpe, and David Pocock and the Bill will return to the House of Representatives to approve amendments which were agreed, before passing into law.
The primary changes for our members, include:
- ‘Employee-like’ agreements will require an independent contractor to meet at least two of the three criteria to deem them employees, which include:
- Low bargaining power
- Low authority over the performance of work
- Receives remuneration at or below the rate of employees performing comparable work.
This agreement means it is less likely independent contractors who obtain work through online platforms such as Airtasker and Hipages will be caught up in these amendments, which is a small win for small businesses.
- The right to disconnect which will allow employees to raise a complaint about intrusive phone calls or answer emails in their unpaid personal time. If the issue is not resolved at the workplace level, employees can apply to the Fair Work Commission for an order on the Employer to stop unreasonable out-of-hours contact.
- Casual employment amendments will include creating a single pathway for casual conversion by the employee’s choice. An employer may be able to refuse conversion to permanent employment on “fair and reasonable operational grounds”.
- The current right of entry provisions allow union officials to enter workplaces with 24 hours' notice to investigate potential Fair Work Act breaches. However, the Fair Work Commission can waive this requirement if there are concerns about document destruction. The new provisions expands the grounds to waive the 24 hours’ notice if the FWC is satisfied that the suspected contravention involves the underpayment of wages of a union member who works there.
Click below to read the full agreement from Senator David Pocock:
Thank you to our members who showed their support by writing to their local Minister opposing the changes. Small business had some small wins. We will continue to keep members informed about these large changes to employment legislation.
If you have any questions, please contact the MPAQ office on 07 3273 0800.