Home > News > What Businesses Need to Know About the Workplace Law Changes

What Businesses Need to Know About the Workplace Law Changes

Spread the love

Author: Chao Ni, Principal

As we start the new 2024/25 financial year, a number of changes to Australian workplace laws will take effect from 1 July 2024. Here’s a detailed look at what to expect and how businesses can prepare:

1. Increase in National Minimum Wage and Award Base Rates

The national minimum wage and award base rates of pay will see a 3.75% increase from the previous year. These increased minimum rates will take effect from the first pay period on or after 1 July 2024.

We recommend that businesses seek advice from MST regarding their new minimum wage rate obligations, update their payroll systems accordingly, and adjust their expense and revenue budgets.

For any employees receiving a wage increase, businesses may either issue a simple letter to confirm the change or present employees with an updated written employment agreement. MST can assist all businesses with reviewing or preparing employment agreements.

2. Increase in Superannuation Guarantee Rate

From 1 July 2024, the minimum superannuation guarantee rate will increase from 11% to 11.5%. The concessional contributions cap for superannuation will also increase from $27,500 to $30,000.

Employers should make these superannuation-related adjustments and review any existing salary sacrificing arrangements involving superannuation payments with their employees.

3. Introduction of Delegate’s Right Clauses in Modern Awards

From 1 July 2024, all modern awards will include a new Delegate’s Right clause (see published decision [2024] FWC 1699). Any enterprise agreements made after 1 July 2024 must also include a Delegate’s Right clause that is no less beneficial for employees compared to the modern award clause.

These new award provisions give additional rights to employee delegates, including the following:

  • Representing the industrial interest of eligible employees in a wide range of workplace matters (e.g., consultation about workplace change, changes to rosters or hours of work, dispute resolution, disciplinary processes, enterprise bargaining, and other workplace procedures).
  • Communicating with eligible employees during working hours, work breaks, or before or after work.
  • Access to:
    • A private room or area for discussions with eligible employees.
    • A physical or electronic notice board.
    • Wi-fi and an email account for communication purposes.
    • A lockable filing cabinet or secure document storage area.
    • Office facilities and equipment, including printers, scanners, and photocopiers (unless the workplace lacks these facilities or it is impractical to provide access).
  • Paid time off during working hours, depending on the size of the employer’s business and the total number of eligible employees.

4. Right of Entry Exemption Certificates

From 1 July 2024, the Fair Work Commission will have the authority to issue right of entry exemption certificates, allowing ROE permit holders to enter worksites without the usual 24 hours’ written notice if the purpose of their entry is to investigate suspected wage underpayment issues.

Employers should prepare for the possibility of unannounced visits by union representatives and ensure their payroll and record-keeping practices are compliant with all legal requirements. Regular audits and reviews of wage practices can help mitigate risks associated with wage underpayment allegations. MST can assist businesses with workplace compliance health checks and audits.

If you have any questions regarding this article, please contact the MST Lawyers’ Employment Lawyers on +61 3 8540 0200 or email workplace@mst.com.au.