Election 2022 – What an ALP Government Means for Employment Law

ALP Government Industrial Relations changes

The ALP’s success at the recent Federal Election is likely to lead to significant employment and industrial relations regulation changes. We pride ourselves on being across all of the latest HR and IR news and changes, so we can update business owners to be ahead of the curve. The more you know ahead of time the better prepared you can be when these changes come into law. 

Proposed policy changes by the ALP we recommend businesses consider include:

Portable Leave Schemes in Insecure Industries

The ALP plans to develop portable leave schemes for annual, sick and long service leave for insecure industries. The inability of employees to accumulate the relevant service for leave entitlements is often not a matter of their engagement but the nature of the projects in certain industries. This scheme will allow workers to move leave entitlements from one job to another. At this time the ALP has not finalised what industries will be eligible, the scheme is intended to help Australians in insecure work accumulate leave where they previously were not able to do so.  

Workers who are expected to benefit are casual employees, contractors, gig-economy workers, fixed-term basis and labour-hire workers. ALP has referenced the pandemic, rising job insecurity, casualisation of the workforce and growth of the gig economy as reasons to implement these industrial relations changes. Industries that are expected to see this change first include, accommodation and food services, retail trade, arts and recreation, healthcare and social assistance. These portable leave schemes are expected to operate similarly to those currently in the construction and mining industry.

Same Job, Same Pay Initiative

The proposed policy is aimed at ensuring workers employed through labour-hire businesses receive no less favourable pay and conditions than employees of the host performing the same role. This is to ensure that workers performing the same duties and working the same hours are paid and treated fairly. Businesses should consider if they could be covered by this legislation, what processes need to be established to comply with the legislation and if the introduction of these laws will impact the feasibility of engaging or providing labour hire?

Terminating Pre-Fair Work Act Agreements

The ALP has proposed to terminate all WorkChoices agreements negotiated prior to the Fair Work Act (2009), to bring businesses up to speed on the industrial relations instruments. Businesses should consider if they still have pre-Fair Work Act collective agreements and what modern Award/s may apply instead.

Minimum Wage Increase

ALP has been vocal in support of raising minimum wages to be in line with inflation. They have also proposed higher penalties including criminal liability for wage theft as well as strengthening sham contracting laws. Businesses paying employees on the national minimum wage or minimum award rates should consider how wage increases will affect their business model. Reviewing the contractors in your business is always encouraged to prevent sham contracting. This can include updating any independent contractor agreements and ensuring the day to day operations of the contractors are consistent with the contractual terms.

Being aware of potential industrial relations changes is the first step to ensuring compliance and protecting your business. If you need assistance understanding or reviewing your industrial relations requirements or have other HR issues please contact the ProcessWorx HR consultants on (08) 9316 9896. Our friendly expert team will be happy to help you develop your business in this area. 

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Written by Danielle McNamee


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Marisa Ross

HR Advisor

Marisa is an experienced and motivated HR professional with a strong HR generalist and business operations background with a focus on employee relations, performance management, leadership training & development, workers compensation & injury management, and employee retention. Marisa holds a Bachelor of Human Resource Management and a Bachelor of Behavioural Science with a minor in Counselling. Having worked in a variety of industries from SMEs to large blue-chip organisations, Marisa is passionate about enriching employee experience, employee retention, and building leadership capability in people management.

Aimee Grigson

Aimee Grigson

WHS Advisor

Aimee has a strong understanding of Workplace Health and Safety Legislation and standards and has extensive HSEQ experience in a number of industries. Aimee has a great ability to engage across all levels of organisation, including field teams, leadership and external stakeholders. Aimee ensures Health and Safety Management Systems are compliant to legislation, effectively implemented and understood by all. Aimee has a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety and qualifications in auditing and incident investigations. Aimee is passionate about coaching and developing small businesses towards a positive safety culture.