Fair Work Legislation Amendment Act received royal assent

30 June 2023 2 min read

The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Protecting Worker Entitlements) Act 2023 (Act) received Royal Assent on 30 June 2023.

The Act constitutes the federal government’s second tranche of workplace relations changes, following suit from the changes brought about by the Secure Jobs Better Pay Act. The Act introduces further changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) and related legislation to close the gaps that undermine worker entitlements and improve gender equality and fairness in the workplace relations system.

The proposed changes include the following:

  • The National Employment Standards (NES) will include a right to superannuation contributions, meaning that unpaid or underpaid superannuation can be enforced under the FW Act by more employees – in effect 1 January 2024;
  • Various changes to unpaid parental leave including increasing flexibility for working parents by allowing them to take up to 100 days (up from 30 days) of their 12-month unpaid parental leave entitlement flexibly, including as single days – in effect 1 July 2023;
  • Providing an express rule that an enterprise agreement applying to employees in relation to particular employment would cease to apply when the Fair Work Commission makes a replacement workplace determination that covers the employees in relation to the same employment – in effect 1 July 2023;
  • Expanding the circumstances in which employees can authorise employers to make valid deductions from payments due to them, where the deductions are principally for the employee’s benefit – in effect 30 December 2023;
  • Confirmation that a breach of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth), or an instrument made under it, does not affect the validity of a contract of employment or a contract for services for the purposes of the FW Act. Therefore, a migrant worker who is working in Australia illegally (e.g. they have breached a work-related visa condition or have no work rights or no right to be in Australia) is entitled to the benefits under the FW Act, regardless of their migration status  – in effect 1 July 2023.