SMA Newsletter – September 2022

By | SMA News

Job & Skills Summit – Further Industrial Law Reform Proposals

At the recent Jobs & Skills Summit, a number of changes to the industrial legislation were canvassed, some already identified by the Federal Labor government’s May campaign.  Some of the main topics include:-

Gender Pay Equality: 

The following proposals were made:

  • To remove the pay secrecy clauses to permit employees to disclose their remuneration if they want to, based on the idea that the constraint effects bargaining for pay rises and contributes to the gender pay gap;
  • To amend the “Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)” to make gender pay equality an object of the Act;
  • To amend the “Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Cth)” to require employer companies (over 250 employees) to report their gender pay gap publicly;
  • To include in the “Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)” and equal remuneration principle to endeavour to make it simpler to progress equal remuneration claims;
  • For the Fair Work Commission to establish 2 expert panels for pay equity in the care & community sector.

“Employee-like” Contractors Safety Net:

Following the recent Fair Work Commission decision on “Deliveroo” “gig worker” case, and the High Court ruling of the “Jamsek” case,  it has been proposed to give the Fair Work Commission the power to set wages and conditions for these workers.

Read more Ü

Job Security  /  Insecure Work:

The following proposals were made in relation job security:

  • Amend the NES to oblige labour hire employers to treat labour hire similarly to direct employees to ensure the  employer complies with its NES obligations and that pay and conditions are not less favourable.
  • Amend the “Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)” to limit fixed-term contracts for the same role to 2 consecutive contracts or 1 with a maximum of 2 years, including renewals.   The exception to this is where the contract would relate to a specific time period or project, or to manage a temporary surge in work.

Workplace Protections :

It has been proposed to amend the “Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)” to make unpaid parental leave more flexible, to make support employees access to flexible working arrangements, and to give the Fair work Commission the power to resolve disputes regarding sexual harassment in the workplace and making such harassment unlawful.

Skilled Immigration:

It has been proposed that the visas be extended and work restrictions relaxed for international students, increase the permanent Migration Program ceiling in the 2022-23 year, and lift the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold where by employers can sponsor workers through a temporary skills shortage visa.


Whilst all employees have a right to pursue underpayment of superannuation guarantee payments themselves, usually done through the Australian Taxation Office, it has been proposed to amend the National Employment Standards (NES) to oblige employers to meet their Superannuation Guarantee obligations.

Paid and Domestic Violence Leave:

Whilst there is legislation introduced to amend the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) to provide 10 days leave per year, it is expected that the Fair Work Commission will follow this with the introduction of an identical provision the modern awards.

COVID 19 Update

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During these challenging and difficult times SMA is committed to our people, our clients and all our families and friends. 

COVID-19 – Notice to Clients: Commencing 17 December 2021, in order to prevent the spread of Covid, SMA will require clients to produce proof of vaccination before attending our office for consultations and conferences. 

If you are unvaccinated, SMA will conduct all consultations and conferences via TEAMS or Telephone as a necessary public health measure aimed at restricting infection. We thank you for your understanding.

COVID-19 – Many people around the world are now working from home and have access to systems as if they were in the office, but with widespread travel restrictions it is no longer feasible to accept hard copy letters or service of legal proceedings at our offices. We do however, now accept service of all documents by email as long as you send them to the email address of the SMA lawyer who is handling your matter with a cc to, any attachment must be less than 20Mb, and you receive no out-of-office message or other system message signifying that the lawyer has not seen your email.