Protecting Vulnerable Workers bill passed

The Bill was passed and will provide more protection for vulnerable workers.

The Fair Work Amendment Bill to protect vulnerable workers was passed in the Parliament on the 5th of September.

The new laws will make it easier to protect vulnerable workers in cases of exploitation.

Included in the measures is an increase in penalties for employers who “deliberately flaunt the minimum wage”, the Fair Work Ombudsmen said.

The new laws will apply to all franchisors who have influence over a franchisee’s affairs. They also double the penalties for record-keeping and breaches of pay slips to $12,000 per contravention for individuals and $63,000 for companies.

In cases of employers who gave false or misleading payslips, the penalties have tripled.

A summary of the key changes that will take place due to the new laws has been provided below, by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

  • “Certain franchisors and holding companies become responsible for underpayments by their franchisees or subsidiaries where they knew, or reasonably ought to have known, about the contraventions and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent them
  • A new category of serious contraventions has been introduced, with penalties that are ten times the current maximum where employers knowingly contravene and it is part of a systematic pattern of contravening conduct
  • New penalties for providing Fair Work inspectors with false or misleading information or records, and new prohibitions for hindering or obstructing them
  • The prohibitions against unreasonably requiring employees to make payments, commonly seen as cashback arrangements, have been strengthened and extended to prospective employees
  • Maximum penalties for record-keeping and pay slip breaches have been doubled, and the maximum penalty for false or misleading employment records has been tripled. New penalties apply for giving false or misleading pay slips
  • Employers who do not meet record keeping or pay slip obligations and cannot show a reasonable excuse, will need to disprove wage claims made in a court
  • The Fair Work Ombudsman’s evidence-gathering powers have been strengthened”



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