Littler Global Guide - Australia - Q1 2023

Browse through brief employment and labor law updates from around the globe. Contact a Littler attorney for more information or view our global locations.

View all Q1 2023 Global Guide Quarterly updates   Download full Q1 2023 Global Guide Quarterly

Work Hours, Overtime, and Penalty Rates for Professional Employees Award

New Order or Decree

Authors: Naomi Seddon, Shareholder, and Xi (Grace) Yang, Of Counsel – Littler

On March 16, 2023, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) amended the Professional Employees Award 2020 (Award) to (1) clarify the categories of employees covered by the law, (2) impose additional obligations on employers to track hours worked and provide overtime compensation, and (3) update penalty rates for noncompliance. The Award covers employers mainly engaged in the information technology, medical research, quality auditing or telecommunications services industries as well as employers of professional engineers and scientists.

The employer must pay a full-time employee the appropriate minimum hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of 38 hours per week, or an average of 38 hours per week over an agreed period (subject to exemptions). This includes call-backs and work performed on electronic devices or otherwise remotely. The payment is in addition to the minimum annual wage prescribed for working ordinary hours. An employee and employer may agree, in writing, to the employee taking time off within six months after the overtime is worked. Employers must adjust their contractual arrangements, work arrangements, record-keeping and pay systems to comply with the new provisions regarding hours of work, overtime and penalty rates by September 16, 2023.

Workplace Gender Equality: Bill to Close Gender Pay Gap

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Authors: Naomi Seddon, Shareholder, and Xi (Grace) Yang, Of Counsel – Littler

On February 8, 2023, the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2023 was introduced into Parliament. The Bill seeks to amend the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 by imposing further requirements on employers with over 100 employees to report their gender pay gap to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (Agency).

Since the Bill also requires the Agency to publish the gender pay gap data, employers’ gender pay gap information will be public. Moreover, to promote transparency and accountability, employers will be required to provide executive summary and industry benchmark reports to all members of their governing body.

Bill to Add the Right to Disconnect

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Authors: Naomi Seddon, Shareholder, and Xi (Grace) Yang, Of Counsel – Littler

On March 20, 2023, the Fair Work Amendment (Right to Disconnect) Bill 2023 was introduced to the Parliament. The Bill seeks to amend the Fair Work Act 2009 by including an employee’s right to disconnect in the National Employment Standards. The Bill states that an employer cannot contact an employee outside of the employee’s work hours unless it is an emergency or genuine welfare matter or the employee received an availability allowance for the period during which the contact is made.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.