Professionals Australia welcomes new industrial laws to strengthen job security, gender equity and bargaining

2 December 2022

Professionals Australia congratulates the Albanese Labor Government on the passage of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill through Parliament today.

The industrial reforms encompassed by the legislation will deliver significant improvements in workplace conditions and wages for millions of workers.

Professionals Australia CEO Jill McCabe said that the new laws were long overdue and will deliver fairer pay and conditions to workers who have experienced over a decade of historic low wage growth.

“For over a decade, Australian workers have faced historic low wage growth and spiraling inflation, and increases in the cost of everyday items like groceries, electricity, rent, and fuel have made it extremely difficult for workers to make ends meet. The new laws will assist in providing a timely and much-needed boost to wages and reduce the financial pressure on workers and their families.

Ms. McCabe also welcomed gender equality being central to Australia’s workplace laws and wage-setting processes.

“Gender equality will now be a key objective of the Fair Work Act and the Fair Work Commission will have to take account of gender equity when performing its functions, from setting the minimum wage to considering changes to awards and in all other decisions it takes.

“Additionally, the establishment of a Pay Equity Expert Panel and a Care and Community Sector Expert Panel are welcome initiatives and will provide invaluable counsel to important work of the Commission.

Ms. McCabe said a prohibition on pay secrecy clauses will also assist in addressing the gender pay gap that still exists across so many areas of employment. Ms. McCabe also welcomed additional protections in the legislation which prohibit sexual harassment in connection with work and which extend the protected attributes of breastfeeding, gender identity, and intersex status to the existing anti-discrimination provisions and said that the legislation will also make enterprise bargaining fairer and more accessible to millions of workers.

“The laws remove barriers to existing streams of enterprise bargaining to make them more flexible and accessible, including at the multi-employer level. This will promote more equitable and inclusive wage outcomes for more Australians.

“The legislation will also expand the circumstances in which an employee may request flexible work arrangements and empower the Fair Work Commission to resolve disputes regarding flexible work arrangements.

“Critically, the Bill will also deliver stronger job security by providing greater protections to employees to limit the use of fixed-term contracts for the same role beyond two years or two consecutive contracts.

Professionals Australia also welcomed the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission and the Registered Organisations Commission with the Fair Work Ombudsman now responsible for regulating all industries and the General Manager of the Fair Work Commission directly regulating registered organisations.

“The Albanese Labor Government’s Secure Jobs, Better Pay legislation will deliver important improvements to the wages and working conditions of millions of workers. “We congratulate the Albanese Government for their commitment to vital industrial reform and thank all the other MPs who supported this important piece of legislation, which will have such a positive impact on the lives of so many workers.”

Media Contact: Darren Rodrigo – 0414783405