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By Allyson Fletcher
Business Improvement Human Resources News

Is your business aware of the recent changes taking place in the HR space?

More than ever it’s important for a business to be abreast of what is going on in the HR landscape. We have broken down the most recent 3 changes for you.

Pay Secrecy

In December 2022, the Australian Government passed new legislation, Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022.  What does this mean for employers and employees across the nation?  Part 7 – Prohibiting pay secrecy of the legislation outlines that employees now have the choice of whether they choose to disclose information relating to their remuneration to other employees, both existing or future.  Employees will also be able to ask other employees about their own remuneration and/or any other terms and conditions that can help determine any remuneration outcome(s).  This now becomes a workplace right and is a protected attribute in terms of an employee’s employment.

As of 7 December 2022, employers will no longer be able to include any pay secrecy clauses and/or any other terms and conditions that relate to or identify remuneration outcomes in any new employee’s individual employment contracts or any other instruments that they rely on as part of the employment terms and conditions of their employees.  Employers do not have to replace any existing contracts, however, any privacy clauses relating to pay will no longer be enforceable and become null and void.

To avoid any doubt, there is no harm to have all existing contracts be updated to take effect of these legislative changes.  Where an employer chooses to not update the existing contracts, until such time that the employee has a variation, any clause(s) relating to pay secrecy will no longer be enforceable and employees cannot be disciplined for sharing information from these clauses.

The legislation also prohibits employers from creating job advertisements that outline pay rates lower than an employee’s minimum entitlements as of 7 January 2023.

Employers found to be in breach of any of these changes can face fines and court proceedings.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

As a result of the Australian Human Rights Commissions (AHRC) report Respect@Work, the Federal Government has introduced changes to provide greater clarity of what an employer’s role and responsibility is towards the safety of its employees.

The main reform is the introduction of ‘positive duty’ in the Sex Discrimination Act 1984.  Employers need to be proactive in the prevention of sexual harassment, rather than be reactive.  Employers need to do whatever is reasonable to eliminate unlawful sexual discrimination, including sexual harassment as much as is possible.

Not only is the person who sexually harasses someone at work responsible for their behaviour, but employers can also be held responsible.  To minimise the risks and to allow your business to be one of best practice and a preferred employer, businesses need to take all reasonable steps to prevent such harassment from occurring in the first instance.  One way to do this is to implement a policy specifically outlining sexual harassment and train staff on what to look out for and what each individual’s role is to mitigate any sexual harassment from happening.

The Victorian Government has also prohibited employers from using Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA’s) in the workplace.  It is expected that other states and territories will follow.

Family and Domestic Violence Leave

The Federal Government has made changes to the existing Family and Domestic Violence Leave.  From 1 February 2023, the leave becomes 10 days of paid leave in a 12 month period for all businesses with 15 or more employees.  This leave will not accrue as other types of leave do and the full 10 days will be available to all employees up front.  The leave will renew every 12 months on an employee’s work anniversary.

Businesses with less than 15 employees are not affected by these changes until 1 August 2023.

If your business needs any help in understanding any of these changes; needs new/existing contracts amended; or if you need help with any other HR matter, then please contact one of our friendly HR team who will be more than happy to help you with your needs. Phone: 1300 4 ADVICE



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