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Changes to the Fair Work Act 

23 January 2024

On 22 June 2023, the Australian Government passed the Fair Work Legislation Amendment
(Protecting Worker Entitlements) Act 2023. The legislation introduces changes to the Fair
Work Act.

The changes had different start dates. Read on for more information about each change and when it took effect.

Employee authorised deductions

These changes took effect on 30 December 2023

From 30 December 2023, new rules apply for employee authorised deductions from pay that are:

  • either one-off or recurring
  • for specific amounts or for amounts that change from time to time.

These are called employee authorised deductions and the employee needs to give their permission in writing. Examples of these deductions include payments to a health fund or union fees.

Employers can only make employee authorised deductions where the deductions are mainly for the employee’s benefit. Extra rules about when employee authorised deductions are allowed also apply if they:

  • are for an amount that can change from time to time
  • directly or indirectly benefit the employer (or someone related to them).

Deductions have to be recorded and kept in an employee’s records. Pay slips also have to say the:

  • amount of any deduction
  • name, or name and number of the fund or account the deduction was paid into.

Awards and registered agreements can also allow for deductions from pay to be made in some circumstances.

Right to superannuation in the National Employment Standards

These changes took effect on 1 January 2024

From 1 January 2024, the National Employment Standards (NES) includes a right to superannuation contributions. This means that unpaid or underpaid superannuation can be enforced under the Fair Work Act by more employees (as well as by an employee organisation or us).

Employers already have an obligation to pay superannuation contributions for eligible employees under superannuation guarantee laws. There would be no contravention of the NES provision where an employer has met their obligations under these laws.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) continues to have the main responsibility for ensuring compliance with employer obligations under superannuation guarantee laws.

We (the Fair Work Ombudsman) can continue to make referrals involving unpaid superannuation to the ATO.

Updated Fair Work Information Statement

The Fair Work Information Statement, which employers must give to new employees, now includes superannuation as part of the NES.

Casual employees in the black coal mining industry

These changes took effect on 1 January 2024

Employees in the black coal mining industry are entitled to portable long service leave entitlements that go with them between employers. This is managed by the Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Corporation (Coal LSL).

There are changes to:

  • clarify that the amount paid out as part of an employee’s long service leave entitlement must include casual loading (where it applies)
  • the method for the accrual of long service leave for casual employees.

Changes that took effect in July 2023

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