Latest WorkChoices amendments to commence this week

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Latest WorkChoices amendments to commence this week

The latest WorkChoices amendments passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, 5 December, as part of a package that also included the independent contractors legislation and amendments, are likely to receive Royal Assent this week. The amending legislation is contained in the Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment (Independent Contractors) Act 2006.

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The latest WorkChoices amendments passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, 5 December, as part of a package that also included the independent contractors legislation and amendments, are likely to receive Royal Assent this week. The amending legislation is contained in the Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment (Independent Contractors) Act 2006.

That Act contains a number of schedules. Schedules 3 - 6 deal with the WorkChoices amendments and they all commence the day after assent. However, some provisions have retrospective operation when they are given effect. It is extremely difficult to be sure as to the precise date of effect. WorkplaceInfo will seek to clarify the situation in a future article.

According to the Parliament House tables office, the legislation has been processed, and Tuesday (12 December) is the day it is most likely to be signed by Governor-General.

As the WorkChoices amendments commence the day after they receive Royal Assent, this would make them effective from 13 December.

Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews said on Monday that the independent contractors legislation would take effect in the first quarter of next year.

Issues covered in WorkChoices amendments

The amendments cover:

  • overtime not counted in annual leave/personal leave accruals
  • no penalty rates/allowances on personal/carer’s leave, compassionate leave, and transfer to safe job paid leave
  • regulations to allow exclusion of a class of shift workers (eg those with no previous entitlement to shift additional leave) from 5th week of annual leave
  • frequency of payment agreements to protect monthly pay arrangements
  • default stand-down provision where employer not responsible for cessation of work
  • limited cashing out of personal leave in an agreement and by written request
  • where transfer to safe job request not possible - personal leave payment will be at basic period rate of pay
  • allowing waiver of requirement of seven-day information statement prior to commencement of AWA / collective agreement
  • unpaid/unauthorised leave not to count as service for accrual of leave purposes
  • protecting redundancy entitlements for 12 months after expiry of agreements
  • no AIRC dispute resolution to proceed where similar equal opportunity proceedings occurring

Related

Further WorkChoices amendments now in Bill form

WorkChoices changes fix some legal problems

  

 

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