The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022 passed Parliament on 2 December 2022. The legislation is extensive and brings into effect a series of changes and obligations that will affect many workplaces.
In this blog, we will be touching on changes to equal pay, pay secrecy prohibitions, sexual harassment and discrimination.
Changes to equal pay
The concept of gender equality is now included as an object in the Fair Work Act.
Previously, to grant an Equal Remuneration Order (ERO), the Fair Work Commission (FWC) assessed claims utilising a comparable male group (male comparator). The legislation removes this requirement opening the way for historical gender based undervaluation to be taken into account and for the FWC to issue a ERO on that basis. That is, female dominated industries may be undervalued generally not specifically compared to men working in that industry or sector.
The FWC is no longer required to find that there is gender-based discrimination in order to establish that work has been undervalued. And, the FWC will be able to initiate an ERO on its own volition without a claim being made.
Note: The changes came into effect on 7 December 2022.
Pay secrecy prohibitions
This change makes pay secrecy clauses (contracts where an employee cannot discuss their pay with peers) in contracts or other agreements invalid.
Now, employees are not compelled to disclose their remuneration and conditions but can do so if they wish.
The amendments apply to new employment contracts or contracts entered into after the 7 December 2022. Pay secrecy clauses in current contracts will continue to be valid, until a new contract is agreed to.
Note: The reforms came into effect on 7 December 2022.
The amendments introduce stronger provisions to prevent sexual harassment and a new dispute resolution framework. Employers may be vicariously liable for acts of their employees or agents unless they can prove they took all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment.
- Apply to workers, prospective workers and persons conducting businesses or undertakings; and
- Enable people who experience sexual harassment in the workplace to initiate civil proceedings if the FWC is unable to resolve the dispute.
Note: These changes will come into effect on 6 March 2023.
Individuals who experience discrimination in the workplace because of gender identity, intersex status or breastfeeding will now be able to pursue complaints through the FWC.
Note: These changes came into effect on 7 December 2022.
To discuss any of these reforms or amendments with our team, contact us today!
To learn more, visit: https://www.dewr.gov.au/secure-jobs-better-pay