Multiple start dates a recipe for confusion for business

14 September 2023

The government’s omnibus workplace relations Bill contains at least 13 different start dates for various measures over the next 15 months, confirming the proposed legislation is a recipe for confusion for Australian businesses and their workers, Business Council chief executive Bran Black said.

“We knew the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill envisaged the most radical redrawing of our workplace relations landscape in decades; now we know how complex and confusing it will be for businesses to understand, introduce and comply with its multiple measures.

“We have identified 13 different start dates for different measures, some that go live as soon as the act receives royal assent, others that are set to take effect at various times over 2024, including changing the definition of casual work, through to New Year’s Day in 2025.

“Most disturbingly, the anti-avoidance measures related to labour hire agreements came into effect on the day the Bill was tabled in parliament last week – before it had even been debated, let alone passed.

“The government indicated business would have more than 12 months to get ready for the changes in the Bill. The reality is that with the retrospectivity in this Bill, it is already affecting businesses’ hiring decisions for fear they will be breaking a law that does not even exist.

“As we have said consistently, these proposals introduce unnecessary complexity and confusion into our workplace relations system at precisely the wrong time, with businesses big and small, facing extremely challenging conditions.

“As the government admits, it will also drive up prices for consumers during a cost-of-living crisis.

“We again urge the government to go back to the drawing board, to identify the problems it is trying to solve before it introduces new laws that will impact nearly every business and every employee in Australia.”


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