Guide to the Closing Loopholes

Employers’ Guide to the Closing Loopholes No.2 Act: Part Two

Recently, on 26 February 2024, the Federal Government enacted the second phase of the Closing Loopholes amendments through the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes No.2) Act 2024 (Cth) (Closing Loopholes No.2 Act). Following the initial changes passed in December last year, employers now face a new set of regulatory adjustments aimed at refining workplace practices and standards.

Key Amendments Overview:

  1. Effective Changes (Commenced on 27 February 2024):

    – Enterprise Bargaining Rules: Franchisees now have access to the single-enterprise bargaining stream, and new guidelines facilitate the transition from multi-enterprise agreements.

    – Compliance Notice Measures: The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) can issue notices mandating employers to calculate and rectify underpayment amounts, with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) empowered to enforce compliance.

    – Penalties: Companies face heightened maximum civil penalties for specific contraventions, alongside a redefined threshold for ‘serious contraventions’.

    – Sham Contracting: Enhanced defenses are introduced to counter misrepresentation of employment as independent contracting arrangements.

  1. Upcoming Changes (Scheduled from 1 July 2024):

    – Exemption Certificates: Unions may secure exemption certificates to waive the minimum 24-hour notice requirement for premises entry, provided there are reasonable suspicions of employee underpayments.

    – Workplace Delegates’ Rights: Terms outlining delegates’ rights will be integrated into modern awards, workplace determinations, and enterprise agreements post-1 July 2024.

  1. Significant Amendments (Effective from 26 August 2024):

    – Casual Employment: Introduces a refined definition of “casual employee” and an “employee-choice pathway” for eligible casuals to request permanent conversion. Additionally, updated distribution and redistribution requirements for the Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS) are mandated.

    – Right to Disconnect: Grants eligible employees the “right to disconnect,” permitting refusal to engage in employer or third-party communication outside working hours, with FWC authorized to issue related directives.

    – Definition of Employment: Incorporates a new definition of employment to delineate “employee” and “employer” categorizations, offering eligible individuals the option to “opt-out” from the new definition.

    – Regulated Workers: Introduces minimum standards for gig economy workers and road transport contractors, accompanied by protections against unfair termination and deactivation.

  1. Future Changes (Effective from 2025):

    – From 1 January 2025, escalated maximum civil penalties for non-compliance concerning underpayments and worker exploitation.

    – On 26 February 2025, the FWC will unveil updated model flexibility, consultation, and dispute resolution terms for enterprise agreements.

Employers’ Action Plan:

To navigate these amendments effectively, employers should take proactive steps:

Right to Disconnect: Develop clear policies outlining expectations regarding out-of-hours contact and update employment contracts accordingly.

Casual Employment: Revise contracts to align with the new definition of casual employment and prepare for CEIS distribution requirements.

Definition of Employment: Review existing employment arrangements and contractor agreements to ensure compliance with the updated definition.

Regulated Workers: Conduct comprehensive reviews of gig economy and road transport worker arrangements to meet regulatory standards.

Workplace Delegates’ Rights: Establish policies for recognizing workplace delegates and devise procedures for managing their rights.

Exemption Certificates:** Prepare for union right-of-entry without prior notice in cases of suspected employee underpayments.

Compliance Notices: Familiarize with the FWO’s enhanced compliance notice powers and prepare for potential notices.

Next Steps:

For further assistance in navigating these changes, contact our Directors at or call (02) 9256 7500.

Please note that the information provided here is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Workplace Law accepts no liability for loss or damage arising from the content of this communication.



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