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Senate Committee Considers Four BIlls

Posted on : Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Currently there are four industrial Bills before the Government's Senate Committee for Education and Employment. The following provides a quick summary:

 

(i)              Fair Work Amendment (Corrupting Benefits) Bill 2017.

 

The Bill amends theFair Work Act 2009 (the Act) to respond to recommendations of the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, including:

 

  • making it a criminal offence to give a corrupting benefit or to provide, offer or promise to provide any cash or in kind payment, other than certain legitimate payments;

 

  • making it a criminal offence to receive or solicit a corrupting benefit or make it a criminal offence to solicit, receive, obtain or agree or obtain any such prohibited payment.

 

(ii)            Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017.

 

This Bill amends the Fair Work Act to implement the Government's commitment to protect vulnerable workers by (and including):

 

  • introducing a higher scale of penalties for 'serious contraventions' of prescribed workplace laws;
  • increasing penalties for record-keeping failures.

 

(iii)         Fair Work Amendment (Repeal of 4 Yearly Reviews and Other Measures) Bill 2017.

The Bill will amend the Act to:

 

  • respond, in part, to the Productivity Commission's Final Report into the Workplace Relations Framework recommendation by repealing the requirement for the FWC to conduct 4 yearly reviews of modern awards from the beginning of 1 January 2018;

 

  • respond to PC Report recommendation 20.1 by enabling the FWC to overlook minor procedural or technical errors when approving an enterprise agreement, where those errors were not likely to have disadvantaged employees.

 

(iv)          Fair Work Amendment (Pay Protection) Bill 2017.

 

  • The Bill amends theFair Work Act 2009to extend protections for employees covered by an enterprise agreement to require employers to pay a base rate of pay, full rate of pay and any casual loading that is no less than the relevant award or national minimum wage order.

 

  • The Bill is opposed by Employers (amongst other opposition) the view that the existing BOOT requirements are in place and which if the Bill is passed would, create uncertainty as to various award provisions when an Agreement already has complied with the Fair Work Act requirements.