The Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 (“ Bill ”) is looking on track to take effect from 1 January 2014. As reported in our April and March Updates, the Bill seeks to introduce new anti-bullying provisions, expand the scope of the FWC, update modern awards and improve workplace flexibility for families including expanding the right to request flexible work arrangements, eligibility for carer’s leave and protections for pregnant women.
The Bill was recommended by the House Standing Committee on Education and Employment (“Committee”) in its report delivered on 5 June 2013. Subsequently, the Bill has been amended following the withdrawal of support from the Independents in Parliament. Relevantly, the Bill has “watered down” the additional right of entry proposals for visiting union officials and introduced a new option that will see the FWC arbitrate eligible adverse actions disputes if the parties agree. Further, the introduction of the FWC’s proposed anti-bullying jurisdiction has been pushed back to commence on 1 January 2014.
In addition, the Committee did not support the related Fair Work Amendment (Tackling Job Insecurity) Bill 2012 introduced by Greens MP Adam Bandt which sought to strengthen the position of casual and contractual workers (for more background, see our March Update).
As at 25 June 2013, the Bill is before the Senate yet to be passed.