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Fair Work Amendment Change in 2017: How the Amendments in the Act Will Protect Vulnerable Workers

Martin Castilla            No comments            Dec, 7

The Fair Work Amendment Act 2017 became effective from September 15, 2017. There are many noticeable changes in the law when compared with The Fair Work Amendment Act of 2009. The effects of these changes lie heavily on those in licensing, franchising or distribution.

This article will take a detailed look at what these changes mean and what effect it will have on these industries in particular. This way, all concerning parties will receive fair work advice and share it with those who aren’t aware of it.

The Changes

Serious contraventions

In case of serious contraventions, high penalties will be charged as per the amended law of 2017. The following two conditions come under serious contraventions.

  • The business or person knew that they were breaching obligations under the law.
  • The breach was a part of a systematic scheme of conduct that affected more than one employee/people.

An individual who wasn’t directly involved in contravention but was aware of its happening will also be changed with higher penalties as they will be considered an accomplice.

Cash back Schemes

According to the law, there are now clearer laws about how to approach and ask employees to pay up. The employer can’t ask the employee about where the money is spent or ask for it when:

  • It isn’t reasonable
  • The employer will benefit from it
  • It is connected to a potential employee’s employment

This also means that the employer can’t ask or take money from a potential employee promising him/her a job, apply unfair pressure and expect the employee to spend the money their way or make them return the money already paid to them.

Increased Penalties

Employers will be penalised for:

  • Giving employee fake payslips
  • Employers may be asked to pay double the previous penalty for not keeping records of issued payslips
  • Employers may be asked to pay triple the previous penalty for knowingly developing false or deceptive employee records

Liability for Franchisors and Holding Companies

Holding companies and franchisors can be held responsible in case their subsidiary or franchisee doesn’t abide by workplace laws regarding minimum entitlements, sham contracting, pay slips, The national employment standard awards or record keeping. These charges have been made effective from 27th October, 2017. This also applies to franchisors that enjoy a significant control or influence over the franchisee’s business affairs.

They can be held liable if:

  • They were aware that the subsidiary or franchisee wasn’t abiding by workplace laws
  • They didn’t take any actionable steps to reprimand it.

What Do The Changes Mean For?

1.      Franchisors or holding companies:

This means that holding companies and franchises must take reasonable steps if they come to know that the franchises or subsidiaries aren’t following workplace laws, or else they will be held accountable for it as well.

2.      Employers:

All employers must ensure that efficient record-keeping practices are in place at the workplace. Businesses that fail to provide the right employee record or found guilty of faulty pay slips making will face higher penalties than before.

3.      Employees:

If any employee feels pressured by their employer to spend their lawfully earned money unreasonably or asked to return some of it back, they must know that it is unlawful. The issue must be reported immediately to higher authorities. They can prove the injustice done and charge the employer with penalties.

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