With the election due in just over a month, we are expecting to
see significant changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
(FW Act) in the second half of 2016.
Both parties have flagged proposed changes that we expect will
all industries in relation to the engagement of employees and
franchisor obligations and franchise arrangements
supply chain contracting arrangements, and
Both the Turnbull Coalition Government and the ALP have recently
announced that they will be taking a much tougher stance on
non-compliance of the FW Act. Both have proposed significant
increases to the maximum civil penalties that can be imposed under
the FW Act. These include:
an increase from $54,000 per breach for a corporation to
$540,000 (Coalition) and three times the underpayment or $1.8
million (ALP); and
an increase from $10,800 per breach for an individual to
$108,000 (Coalition) and three times the underpayment or $216,000
Other changes to the FW Act are expected, including:
the Coalition's amendments to make franchisors, parent
companies and directors liable for breaches of the FW Act by their
franchisees and subsidiaries, new compulsory powers and additional
funding for the Fair Work Ombudsman and a Migrant Workers
the ALP's amendments to change the test for contracting
arrangements to a 'reasonable person' test, introduction of
a definition for independent contractors, new criminal offences for
those who deliberately exploit overseas workers and powers to
We have also seen a significant increase recently in franchise
and subsidiary companies and directors being penalised for
non-compliance with award entitlements and the FW Act. We expect to
see this trend continue, together with an increase in the
concentration on Fair Work compliance.
Penalties are now also regularly being imposed on individuals in
their personal capacity, including Human Resources Managers and
other business managers that are responsible for the human
resources functions and related decisions in businesses. This makes
accessorial liability under the FW Act an increasing and very real
risk and the Fair Work Ombudsman last week has warned that they
will be increasingly pursuing a broader range of accessories.
If you would like the benefit of Holding Redlich's vast
experience in order to:
ensure your business is compliant with its current obligations
under the FW Act
prepare your business for the expected changes, and
minimise the risks in this area for your business, your
managers and directors,
This publication does not deal with every important topic or
change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute
for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's
specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of
interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice
relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
An employee that refused a reasonable offer of settlement was ordered by the FWC to pay his ex-employer's legal costs.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).