AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION 2022 – WHAT DOES AN ALP GOVERNMENT MEAN?

Freehills – Following success in the federal election, the Australian Labor Party is set to drive significant change across employment and industrial relations

The ALP’s success in the federal election on Saturday is likely to lead to significant changes in employment and industrial relations regulation. Some of these changes are imminent, whereas others will develop over time. What is clear is with change comes opportunity, and employers who are able to best plan for and work with these changes will have an advantage over their competitors.

The ALP have made a number of policy announcements over recent months. The below  list identifies the more immediate issues that Australian businesses should be thinking about well ahead of the tabling of any legislation.

SAME JOB, SAME PAY

 

WHAT SHOULD/CAN BUSINESSES DO NOW?

Businesses should consider the following:

  • Which workgroups might be captured by the legislation? This could extend beyond traditional ‘labour hire’ to arrangements whereby different entities within a corporate group share labour, and to service contracting arrangements.
  • What opportunities might be available to legitimately and lawfully limit the application of this legislation, or reduce its impact? For example, this might require changes to existing terms and conditions of employment, including through enterprise bargaining.
  • What processes will need to be established by organisations to comply with the legislation? For instance:
    • What information will organisations need to provide to labour hire businesses and its workers about the applicable pay and conditions? How will this be done?
    • What changes will need to be made to contracting and labour hire agreements?
    • What changes need to be made to recruitment processes, workplace training programs, workplace amenities and collective facilities?
    • What changes will need to be made to accommodate any additional obligations to provide advance notification and consultation to labour hire workers in the event of changes to hours and location of work?
    • What auditing processes will need to be implemented to ensure labour hire businesses are providing the correct pay and conditions to their workers?
    • To what extent are businesses existing contracts and enterprise agreements likely to operate consistently with the above obligations?
  • Would the introduction of these laws impact the feasibility or operational justification for the engagement of labour hire? Might it require changes to labour or operating models?

TERMINATING LEGACY WORKCHOICES AGREEMENTS

WHAT SHOULD/CAN BUSINESSES DO NOW?

Organisations should consider whether they still have operative pre-Fair Work Act collective agreements. If so, it would be useful to consider well in advance how the relevant modern award terms might apply instead, or whether it is appropriate to negotiate a replacement enterprise agreement under the Fair Work Act.

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