Workplace Changes 2024

Workplace relations changes effective 1 July 2024

Julianne Taverner, Victoria Quayle ||

As we move into the new financial year, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has again released its annual update for employment law. Here’s what employers need to know about the changes.

Increases to National Minimum Wage and Award Wages

On 3 June 2024, the FWC announced the following increase to the National Minimum Wage and Award Wages:

  • The National Minimum Wage will increase to $915.90 per week (or $24.10 per hour), up from $882.80 per week (or $23.23 per hour) in the previous financial year; and
  • Minimum award wages will all increase by 3.75% above the current levels.

The increased rates take effect from the first full pay period following 1 July 2024. The increases may also affect employers covered by an enterprise agreement where the minimum rates of pay mirror the underpinning Award. If this is the case, the rates will need to increase so they align with the applicable award minimums.

All employers should urgently review their obligations under applicable Modern Awards to ensure they are not exposed to underpayment claims or civil penalties.

Increase to the High-Income Threshold for Unfair Dismissal Claims

For all dismissals occurring after 1 July 2024, the high-income threshold in unfair dismissals has increased to $175,000.

Further, the compensation limit has also increased to $87,500.

Increase to the Fair Work Commission filing fees

From 1 July 2024, the filing fee for dismissal, general protections, bullying and sexual harassment at work applications has increased to $87.20.

Increase to the Superannuation Guarantee

From 1 July 2024, the superannuation guarantee has increased to 11.5%, up from 11% in the previous financial year.  This is part of the staggered increase to the superannuation guarantee that will see the rate rise to 12% as of 1 July 2025

Changes still to come
Casual employment

As of 26 August 2024, multiple changes will come into place in relation to casual employment.  These changes are:

  • Under the Fair Work Act, an employee is only a casual if:
    • There isn’t a firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work, considering a few factors, including the real substance, practical reality and true nature of the employment relationship; and
    • They are entitled to receive a casual loading or specific casual pay rate.

A new pathway will also be introduced for eligible employees to change to permanent employment, should they want to.

As of 26 August 2024, a Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS) will need to be provided to the following:

  • New casual employees before or soon after the commencement of their employment;
  • All casual employees employed by non-small businesses as soon as possible after:
    • Six-months of employment; or
    • 12-months of employment and every subsequent period of 12-months of employment.
  • All casual employees of small businesses as soon as possible after 12-months of employment.
Independent Contractor Changes

From 26 August 2024 there will be multiple changes made to definitions and protections for Independent Contractors.

  • A new definition will be added to the Fair Work Act to assist in determining the meaning of ‘employee’ and ‘employer’. As of 26 August 2024, Contractors will be able to apply to the FWC if they believe their services contract contains an unfair contract term. The FWC will be able to determine whether a term of a services contract is an unfair contract term and make an order to set aside, amend or vary all or part of the contract.
  • Minimum Standards for Contractors – new frameworks will be set up to protect independent contractors:
    • Performing work on digital labour platforms; or
    • Working in the road transport industry.
Right to Disconnect

Eligible employees will have the right to refuse contact outside of their working hours, unless that refusal is unreasonable. This will take place from 26 August 2024 for non-small business employers and from 26 August 2025 for small business employers.

Workplace Delegates Rights

Workplace delegates will be entitled to represent the industrial interests of potential union members.  Workplace delegates will also be entitled to access to the workplace facilities for the purpose of representing those workers’ industrial interests.

A handy resource of the changes

Click here for our useful resource for you summarising the key workplace changes

For more information, please contact Coleman Greig’s Employment Law & WHS team.

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