When it comes to IR laws, change has been constant in Australia in recent years – and there’s more to come. The shift in Australian workplace laws is wide ranging and, for many, it’s causing a great deal of confusion. In fact, according to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA, “The changes are highly disruptive for WA businesses and will add cost and complexity to running a business.” The rewriting of Australia’s IR laws is impacting businesses of all sizes but many are unaware of what the changes mean to their operation. Smaller organisations especially may not even realise the laws – often referred to as the ‘Closing Loopholes’ changes – apply to them. This is raising concerns that some businesses could, unknowingly,  be exposed to costly breaches of the law. Given their far reaching consequences and the fact that ignorance is not a legal defence, the upshot is that companies will need to protect themselves by seeking expert assistance from knowledgeable HR consultants to navigate the moving ground.


Australia’s new IR laws

Workplace law changes have been coming thick and fast and many, but not all, have attracted media attention. Some of the more notable changes include:

  • ‘Same job, same pay’ laws relating to labour hire. The principle of the legislation is that workers who carry out the same or similar roles should receive equal pay, factoring in qualifications, performance levels and experience. This law includes contract and permanent employees and covers base salary, allowances, bonuses and other benefits.
  • New laws introduce ‘wage theft’ as a new federal criminal offence, attracting significant criminal penalties. This comes into effect from January 1, 2025.
  • A new definition of employment for contractors, to differentiate between casual and permanent employees. This change takes effect from July 1, 2024 and creates a risk some businesses could be incorrectly classifying workers, unless they check how they’re impacted.
  • Right to disconnect laws, which amends the Fair Work Act 2009 to “prevent employers from contacting employees outside of work hours; and provide that employees are not required to monitor, read or respond to work communications from their employer outside of work hours.”

Other changes include making industrial manslaughter a criminal offence, amongst many others.

Compliance is key

As a business owner or manager, the onus is on you to ensure you’re complying with all changes as they roll out. This is no easy task. At RecruitWest, our team includes exceptional HR experts who are dedicated to keeping abreast of all legislative changes impacting Australian workplaces and their workforces. Our HR consultants have deep experience supporting businesses across a vast range of sectors and also specialise in supporting companies to create a culture that breeds productivity, fulfilment and success. RecruitWest can also provide a quality assurance platform for businesses and deliver clear procedures to better guide managers and employees, helping ensure legal and regulatory compliance. Our team work can work collaboratively with your business to review how this tranche of Australian workplace law changes impact your organisation and staff. This process is customised to your company and includes a review of all your current HR policies and procedures, delivering peace of mind as these laws come into effect, with some already in effect.



Ready to review how the IR law changes impact your business?

We have offices in Perth and Bunbury and collaborate with businesses all over Western Australia. So, feel free to get in touch with our helpful team and arrange your HR review today. RecruitWest. Helping your business stay legally compliant.