Protecting Vulnerable Workers Bill passed in Parliament

As of 5 September 2017 the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017 (the Bill) passed both Houses of Parliament.

The Bill won’t become law until it receives Royal Assent.

What are the changes?

When the Bill receives Royal Assent, the following changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 external-icon.png will apply straight away:

  • increased penalties for ‘serious contraventions’ of workplace laws
  • making it clear that employers can’t ask for ‘cashback’ from employees or prospective employees
  • increased penalties for breaches of record-keeping and pay slip obligations
  • employers who don’t meet record keeping or pay slip obligations and can’t show a reasonable excuse, will need to disprove wage claims made in a court (this is also referred to as a reverse onus of proof)
  • stronger powers for us to collect evidence in investigations
  • new penalties for giving us false or misleading information, or hindering or obstructing our investigations.

The following changes will also apply 6 weeks after Royal Assent:

  • certain franchisors and holding companies could be held responsible if their franchisees or subsidiaries don’t follow workplace laws (if they knew, or should have known, and could have prevented it).

We’ll update this website with more information when the Bill receives Royal Assent and the new law applies. Come back to this website in the coming days.

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