Road Safety Strat­egy in­quiry be­gins

Ch­ester ap­points two lead­ing in­dus­try ex­perts to jointly chair the in­quiry

Australian Transport News - - Contents -

Vul­ner­a­ble work­ers will now have more pro­tec­tion un­der the Fair Work laws fol­low­ing the pass­ing of the Amend­ment Bill by the Aus­tralian Se­nate last month.

Wel­com­ing the Fair Work Amend­ment (Pro­tect­ing Vul­ner­a­ble Work­ers) Bill 2017, Fair Work Om­buds­man Natalie James says the changes will give Fair Work more pow­ers to take ac­tion in cases of worker ex­ploita­tion.

The amend­ment in­cludes

an in­crease in max­i­mum penal­ties for em­ploy­ers who de­lib­er­ately out min­i­mum wage and other en­ti­tle­ments’ rules un­der the Fair Work Act 2009.

In case of se­ri­ous con­tra­ven­tions, the em­ploy­ers can face up to 10 times the cur­rent max­i­mum penal­ties.

“A court could im­pose these higher penal­ties where an em­ployer knew they were breach­ing their obli­ga­tions and this con­duct is part of a sys­tem­atic pat­tern of be­hav­iour,” the FWO states. “In such cases, max­i­mum penal­ties of $630,000 and $126,000 per con­tra­ven­tion could ap­ply to cor­po­ra­tions and in­di­vid­u­als re­spec­tively.”

The Om­buds­man states that dur­ing the pre­vi­ous nan­cial year, up to two-thirds of the FWO’s court cases in­volved al­leged record-keep­ing or payslip con­tra­ven­tions, with nearly one third in­volv­ing al­le­ga­tions of false or mis­lead­ing records pro­vided to the FWO.

The amend­ments moved by the Se­nate will dou­ble the max­i­mum penal­ties for record-keep­ing and payslip breaches to: • $12,600 per con­tra­ven­tion

for in­di­vid­u­als • $63,000 for com­pa­nies • Triple ex­ist­ing penal­ties in cases where em­ploy­ers give false or mis­lead­ing pay slips to work­ers, or pro­vide the FWO false in­for­ma­tion. The changes will come into ef­fect once the Bill has re­ceived royal as­sent.

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