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Changes to Fair Work and what it means as an employer

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Fair Work Australia have brought several Industrial Relations changes into effect as part of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act 2022.

Some of these changes started on 7 December 2022, while others will start throughout 2023. New paid and family domestic violence leave entitlements will also come into effect in 2023.

It is important that you understand these changes and timelines if you are an employer.

The new laws and rules relate to:

  • Prohibiting pay secrecy and job ads that contravene the Fair Work Act.
  • Flexible work and fixed term contracts.
  • Anti-discrimination and prohibiting workplace sexual harassment.
  • Unpaid parental leave changes.
  • Enterprise agreements and enterprise bargaining.
  • Equal remuneration and establishing expert panels.
  • Changes to the small claims process.
  • Abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC).


What you need to know as an employer

Removal of Pay Secrecy and disclosure of employment conditions

As of 7 December 2022, the Fair Work Act gives employees and future employees the right to share or not share information relating to their pay and employment terms and conditions. Employees may also ask other employees about their pay and employment terms and conditions. Employees cannot be forced to share this information to another employee if they do not want to. As an employer, you cannot take adverse action against an existing or future employee because of these rights or to prevent an employee from exercising these rights.

What do you need to consider?

  • Check your pay secrecy terms (if any) comply with the new workplace rights.
  • Ensure existing and future contracts do not include secrecy terms that do not comply. The Fair Work Ombudsman have the power to start court proceedings for alleged breaches.

Job advertisement changes

As of 7 January 2023, job advertisements cannot include pay that would breach the Fair Work Act or awards/ enterprise agreements. This means that you cannot include pay rates that undercut employees’ minimum entitlements. Employers advertising pieceworker positions where the employee would also be entitled to a periodic rate of pay, need to specify the periodic pay rate applies, or state it will apply.

What do you need to consider?

Flexible work

From 6 June 2023, the right to request flexible working arrangements will also apply to employees who are pregnant and employees, or immediate family members experiencing domestic violence.

There is also a new process that employers will need to undergo before they can refuse a request from an employee around flexible working arrangements:

  • Discuss the request with the employee.
  • Make a genuine effort to find alternative arrangements to accommodate the employee’s circumstances.
  • Consider the consequences of refusal for the employee.
  • Provide a written response that includes:
  • An explanation of the reasonable business grounds for refusing the request and how these grounds apply to the request.
  • Other changes the employer is willing to make that would accommodate the employee’s circumstances or that says there aren’t any changes.
  • Information about referring a dispute to the Fair Work Commission.

If changes are agreed to that are different to what the employee requested, the employer needs to confirm these agreed changes in writing within 21 days of the request.

What do you need to consider?

Employers should consider reviewing flexible working policies to ensure any necessary changes are incorporated.

Fixed term contracts

From 6 December 2023, employers can no longer employ an employee on a fixed term contact that:

  • is for more than 2 years,
  • may be extended more than once, or
  • is a new contract:
    • that is for the same or a substantially similar role as previous contracts
    • with substantial continuity of the employment relationship between the end of the previous contract and the new contract, and either:
      • the total period of the contracts is 2 or more years,
      • the new contract can be renewed or extended, or
      • a previous contract was extended.

From 6 December 2023, employers will have to give employees they are engaging on new fixed term contracts a Fixed Term Contract Information Statement.

What do you need to consider?

Employers should consider if they have any existing fixed term employees and consider if a fixed term arrangement is the best option after the December 6 2023.

New paid and family domestic leave

From 2023, employees will be able to access 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave within a 12-month period, including casual and part-time employees.

The new entitlement will be available from:

  • 1 February 2023, for employees of non-small business employers (employers with 15 or more employees on 1 February 2023).
  • 1 August 2023, for employees of small business employers (employers with less than 15 employees on 1 February 2023).

You can find out more about the changes here:

It is important to understand and comply with the Fair Work changes

Your obligations as an employer are changing. Some of these changes have already come into effect, with more changes to come throughout 2023. Our team of expert advisers are here to help. If you have any questions about this article, please contact us on 1300 667 897.

Thank you to Heidi Mayhew-Sanders from Bentley’s for preparing this article. Changes to Fair Work and what it means as an employer (

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All material contained herein is written by way of general comment. No material should be accepted as authoritative advice and if you wish to act upon the material contain herein, you should contact The MBA Partnership for properly considered professional advice which will take into account your own specific conditions. No responsibility is accepted for any action taken without advice by readers of the material contained herein.