Staying up to date with the latest employment law updates is crucial for employers to ensure compliance and maintain a fair and inclusive workplace. This blog post will outline some recent changes to employment law legislation that businesses need to be aware of, as well as provide insights on their implications and best practices for implementation.
1. Minimum wage increases
Following the workplace tribunals’ annual minimum wage assessment, the Fair Work Commission announced a 5.75 per cent pay increase for both the national minimum wage and award minimum wage rates. This was affected on July 1st, 2023. Employers must update their payroll systems accordingly to meet the new minimum wage requirements and fulfil their obligations to employees.
2. Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022
As a result of the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022, certain amendments to employment law were enacted on June 6, 2023. These include:
Several changes have been made to bargaining, aimed at making it more accessible and attractive for both employees and employers. These include giving the Fair Work Commission more authority to help parties reach agreements and streamlining enterprise agreement approval criteria, including the Better-Off-Overall Test.
Flexible work requests
This change makes it easier for eligible employees to negotiate workplace flexibility that benefits both them and their employer by strengthening the ability to request work arrangements. Under NES, qualified employees will have the right to request flexible work arrangements, and their employers will be required to discuss this with them.
Unpaid parental leave requests
This change requires that when an eligible employee makes a request for an extension of unpaid parental leave, their employer has an obligation to discuss this with them. If their employer refuses a request, the employer will need to provide reasons in writing.
3. Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Protecting Worker Entitlements Bill) 2023
On June 22, 2023, Parliament passed the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Protecting Worker Entitlements Bill) 2023. Among others, this includes changes to:
Unpaid parental leave
The Fair Work act will include greater flexibilities for employees taking unpaid parental leave. In place of the previous 30-day limit, employees taking unpaid parental leave will now be able to use up to 100 days of their 12 month leave entitlement flexibly within the 24 months following the birth of their child.
Pregnant employees will also be able to take advantage of their flexible unpaid parental leave up to 6 weeks before the expected date of birth of their child.
Employees can now take concurrent leave with their spouse or de facto partner for a total of more than 8 weeks. Both parents may take up to 12 months unpaid parental leave at any time within 24 months of their child’s birth. They can also both apply for an extension of up to 12 months beyond the initial 12 month leave amount.
The inclusion of superannuation in the National Employment Standards (NES)
These changes expand the number of national system employees with a workplace right to superannuation who can act in court to recover their unpaid superannuation.
However, if the ATO has already commenced legal proceedings to effectively recover those same amounts of unpaid superannuation, an employee cannot use the new NES entitlement to recover unpaid superannuation through the courts.
The amendments allow employees to authorise their employers to make salary deductions that are recurring and are for amounts that vary from time to time.
What should I do as an employer?
Employers should familiarize themselves with these amendments and others to ensure compliance and protect the rights and entitlements of their workforce.
- There have been significant changes to Employment Law legislation.
- The Fair Work Commission implemented a 5.75% pay rise for national and award minimum wage rate, effective from 1 July 2023.
- On 6 June 2023, amendments were put in place by The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022.
- On June 22, 2023, Parliament passed the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Protecting Worker Entitlements Bill) 2023.
Gladwin Legal are experts in employment law and have extensive experience in advising businesses. If you require assistance in understanding your legal obligations please contact us at or 1300 033 934.