Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill
As of 6 June, a range of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill changes will be coming into effect, including the new multi-enterprise bargaining approach and changes to the handling of requests for flexible work and unpaid parental leave extensions.
Additionally, this month sees the implementation of expanded authority for the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to step in and offer solutions when disputes emerge between employers and workers about some of the issues mentioned above.
Since the Secure Jobs Bill’s first announcement in December of last year, salary secrecy measures have been eliminated.
The decision was taken in a move to increase gender equality by making wage discussions more transparent. Furthermore, it means that workers are protected from retaliation if they want to tell others about their income.
The Fair Work Legislation Amendment includes provisions that grant the FWC authority to resolve “intractable bargaining disputes” in an effort to accelerate resolutions and avoid industrial action.
As of this week, employers will need to think twice before denying flexible work requests. The FWC will have greater powers to resolve flexible work disputes, such as via conciliation and mediation sessions.
Under the supported bargaining stream, the FWC is required to make a Supported Bargaining Authorization if it’s satisfied that it’s appropriate for the relevant employers and employees. Under the cooperative workplaces bargaining stream, an employer can seek to join with other employers to make a cooperative workplaces agreement.
From 6 June, the FWC will be able to make “intractable bargaining declarations” (i.e., decisions about the terms of an enterprise agreement). The FWC will be able to exercise discretion as to whether the negotiation period can be extended or not before it chooses to resolve the matter itself.
As of this week, employers will need to think twice before denying flexible work requests. The FWC will have greater powers to resolve flexible work disputes, such as via conciliation and mediation sessions. Working parents will now have increased rights to request an extension of their unpaid parental leave.
Employers who operate under agreements made prior to the commencement of the Fair Work Act in 2009 – which are known as ‘zombie agreements’ – can still operate under these agreements until they sunset on 6 December 2023.
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