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Top 3 HR Legal Changes of 2024 You Need To Know

Employment laws keep evolving, and it's more and more difficult to stay on top of the changes when you're busy running your business.

Here are the top 3 recent changes you need to be aware of.

Wage Theft Legislation

Beginning 1st January 2025, businesses must be hyper-vigilant regarding payroll compliance due to impending legislation changes.

Severe penalties, such as fines up to $7.8 million and potential imprisonment, await those found guilty of wage or superannuation underpayment.

It's imperative for companies currently facing scrutiny for underpayment, whether accidental or not, to resolve issues pre-2025 to avoid harsh penalties under the new law.

To ensure compliance:

  • Implement clear measures for determining appropriate pay structures.

  • Verify the accuracy of job classifications.

  • Implement rigorous record-keeping practices.

  • Swiftly address any past underpayment.

Casual Workforce

The Closing Loopholes Part 2 introduces significant changes regarding casual employment under the Fair Work Act. It sets a new definition of a "casual employee" focusing on the absence of a firm commitment to continuous work and the entitlement to a casual loading.

The assessment of this definition now considers various factors such as the practical reality of the employment relationship and the availability of continuing work within the business. It also clarifies that a regular work pattern alone does not imply a commitment to ongoing employment.

The legislation introduces a new regime for casual conversion to permanent employment, emphasising "employee choice" rather than placing the onus solely on employers.

This means that casual employees can opt for permanent status by providing written notification to their employer, subject to specific conditions and employer responses within 21 days.

Employers may reject such notifications based on legal grounds or operational requirements, ensuring fair consideration of both employee and employer needs.

Gender Equality Reporting

In March 2023, the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2023 was passed, changing the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012. This affects private sector employers and government organisations with over 100 employees.

From 27th February 2024, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) can share private sector pay gap data, followed by public sector data in late 2024 or early 2025. Starting this month, employers must report employee age, workplace, and executive pay, plus report on harassment and discrimination. Larger employers also need specific policies for gender equality.

To navigate these changes effectively, employers are advised to inform their workforce beforehand, demonstrating a commitment to gender equality and transparency. Failure to comply could lead to repercussions such as being named in government reports or media coverage, as well as losing eligibility for government contracts or grants. It's crucial for organisations to understand and prepare for these consequences to ensure compliance with the new legislation.

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The content provided on this website serves as a general information resource on the subjects discussed, and should not be considered tailored to specific individual circumstances or a replacement for legal counsel. While we exert significant effort to ensure the accuracy of our information, HR Consulting TAS cannot ensure that all content on this website is consistently accurate, exhaustive, or current. Recommendations by HR Consulting TAS and any information acquired from this website should not be regarded as legal advice.

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