Changes to Fair Work imminent

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Changes to Fair Work imminent

The federal government has scheduled legislative changes to the Fair Work system and social security in the Spring session of parliament.

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The federal government has scheduled legislative changes to the Fair Work system and social security in the Spring session of parliament.

Redundancy – Fair Entitlements Guarantee Amendment Bill


This bill gives effect to a 2014–15 budget measure to assist the financial sustainability of the Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme by capping the redundancy pay entitlements under section 23 of the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Act 2012 in line with the Fair Work Act 2009.

The government will achieve savings of $87.7 million over four years by aligning redundancy payments under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) scheme to the National Employment Standards (NES) contained in the Fair Work Act 2009.

The FEG scheme covers certain unpaid employee entitlements in the event of insolvency or bankruptcy.

From 1 January 2015, the maximum payment for redundancy pay under the scheme will be 16 weeks, in line with the maximum set by the NES. Employees seeking to claim an entitlement above the maximum set by the NES will maintain rights as creditors to recoup any outstanding entitlement through the winding up of their employer's business.

From 1 July 2014, indexation of the maximum weekly wage used in calculating entitlements for claimants earning above the maximum weekly wage of $2,451, will be paused until 30 June 2018.

The changes will apply only to liquidations and bankruptcies that occur on or after the commencement date.

The savings from this measure will be “redirected by the government to repair the budget and fund policy priorities”.

 Enterprise bargaining – Fair Work Amendment Bill (No. 2)


The Fair Work Amendment Bill (No. 2) gives effect to what the federal government refers to as “harmonious, sensible and productive enterprise bargaining”.

The government’s policy seeks to improve the current Fair Work laws by providing common sense solutions to practical problems such as ensuring right of entry provisions are sensible and not abused, providing practical help to small businesses within the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman and “tackling lawlessness on building sites and construction projects by re-establishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission”.

These measures will address the "flexibility, militancy and productivity problems that exist within the operation of the current system". 

 Job seekers – social security


Meanwhile, the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Job Seeker Compliance Framework) Bill aims to strengthen the controversial compliance arrangements for job seekers in receipt of activity tested income support payments. Job seekers will have to prove a rigorous regime of job seeking to qualify for social security.

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