Key Employment Condition Changes in Australia
What Employers Must Know

If you run an Australian business, regardless of its size, you must understand and comply with these 10 recent and upcoming changes that impact your employment and people management practices.


Requests for flexible working arrangements
Requests for flexible working arrangements now encompass pregnancy, as well as situations related to family and domestic violence. As an employer, you must carefully consider these arrangements when such requests are made.
When changes apply:  now in force.

Pay secrecy
You must ensure that any reference to pay confidentiality in existing employment contracts and HR policies are removed. You must also ensure that any new employment contracts do not include references to pay secrecy.
When changes apply
:  now in force.

As an employer, you are required to proactively prevent sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying in the workplace. This involves several key processes including:

  • Developing and maintaining a policy on harassment, discrimination and bullying
  • Keeping detailed meeting minutes that document discussions about these issues in team meetings
  • Establishing clear and robust reporting procedures
  • Identifying employees who should be trained to handle complaints effectively and providing the appropriate training
  • Provide regular training for employees and managers. Note that annual 15-minute webinars are no longer considered appropriate for this purpose.
    When changes apply
    : now in force

“Zombie agreements”
All pre-2010 Enterprise Agreements, often referred to as  ‘zombie agreements’, will automatically terminate ( or ‘sunset’). Many of these agreements no longer apply and have ceased to operate.
When changes apply:  from 7 December 2023.

Fixed-term contracts
A fixed-term contract cannot extend beyond two years, including any extensions. If you enter into a fixed-term contract with an individual, you are required to provide them with a “Fixed Term Contract Information Statement”.
When changes apply:  from 7 December 2023.

Wage theft
Wage theft encompasses various issues such as failing to pay overtime or penalty rates, making unlawful cash deductions for breakages, denying leave, demanding wages through illegal cash-back schemes, incorrect wage payments and non-payment of wages. Wage theft will soon be treated as a criminal offence, carrying large fines and possible imprisonment.
When changes apply:  coming into effect shortly.

Work, health and safety      
Violations of work, health and safety laws and regulations shall result in increased penalties, including a new offence called “industrial manslaughter” which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment.
When changes apply
:  coming into effect shortly.

Casual workers – change in employment status
Casual workers will soon have the option to request permanent employment status after six months service, subject to specific conditions.
When changes apply:  coming into effect shortly.

Casual workers – reissue of casual employment information statement (CEIS)
If you employ casual workers, you will be required to re-issue the CEIS to each casual worker every 12 months.
When changes apply
:  coming into effect shortly.

Labour-hire workers
If your employees are covered by an Enterprise Agreement and you hire labour-hire workers, you will be required to ensure that the labour-hire workers receive equal pay to your employees when performing similar work. 
When changes apply
:  coming into effect shortly.

This list is non-exhaustive and requires you to address several issues based on your specific circumstances and business requirements. Please be aware that significant penalties, including imprisonment in certain circumstances, apply to employers who fail to comply. Ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse.

Wurth HR offers consulting and training on all of the areas above. Contact us if you have questions about any of the above matters or require guidance on the specific steps your business needs to take.
▶ Contact David Wurth for an obligation-free discussion at 1300 900 741 or