Huge changes to Fair Work Act flagged for 2023

The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act) 2022 means big things for workplaces, with a raft of new laws already enshrined and many more to come.  Unions fought for these changes since before the last Federal election because of the nationwide issues on job security and pay. 

CPSU Tasmania General Secretary Thirza White: 

“These are the most significant changes since the Fair Work Act was implemented and unions knocked off John Howard’s WorkChoices laws. The Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act is a huge step towards better rights and workplaces, but it is up to us to use these. A huge congratulations to all members who pushed for this reform.” 

Where we’re at

We’re currently in the first stage of these changes, which began in December 2022, with two more stages to come in 2023. 

These changes will make moves towards gender equality, as well as prohibiting pay secrecy. 

Pay secrecy clauses are often used to hide gender pay discrepancies, so banning these has been shown to have a positive impact on the gender pay gap in other countries like the US, Denmark and Canada.

The changes under this legislation will also see a move to multi-employer bargaining.   

Take a company like Qantas, who has outsourced and contracted out much of its work (remember the outsourcing of baggage handlers recently), meaning workers are on a lot of different agreements with different wages and conditions. In fact Qantas engages 21 external companies for labour across 17 subsidiaries. 

Under the new changes, employees with a common interest can be brought together under a single Agreement, so they can collectively fight for better pay and conditions.  

The Act also means: 

Breastfeeding, gender identity and intersex status are all new protected attributes under the Fair Work Act. 

It will also mean some key reforms from the Respect @ Work legislation are implemented, including the prohibition of sexual harassment in the workplace.  

There are plenty more changes to come.  

Click to see a timetable of these changes here: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/sites/default/files/2022-12/secure-jobs-better-pay-timeline.pdf

Feeling Lost? 

Don’t worry – The ACTU will have a huge program of education about these workplace changes. 

So, if you work in a Fair Work site, then we’ll be in touch about how you can learn more soon. 

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