On 9 December 2020, the Federal Government introduced its much anticipated amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Act) to Parliament.

The Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia's Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill (the Bill) follows consultation between Government and employer and employee representative bodies as foreshadowed by Attorney General Christian Porter's IR Roundtables earlier this year, and propose significant amendments to five key areas of the legislation. These are:

  Category

  Key Changes

Casual employment

Insertion of statutory definition of casual employee

Insertion of statutory casual conversion mechanism

Orders to offset identifiable casual loading amounts

Modern awards

Certain JobKeeper flexibilities to be retained for a period of two years

Greater flexibility for part time employees to work additional hours at their ordinary rate of pay

Enterprise agreements

Significant overhaul of the better off overall test

Simplification of the FWC agreement approval process

Greenfield agreements

Agreements for major project works may have a nominal term of eight years

Agreements with a nominal term between four and eight years must provide for annual pay increases every year throughout the nominal term

Compliance and enforcement

Criminalisation of wage underpayment

Increased penalties for serious contraventions and sham contracting

Increased power for the FWC to dismiss an application, including insertion of new power for FWC to make orders about further applications after dismissal

 
For further details of the proposed changes, please click on each of the links in the table above.

This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2021.