New IR Laws in WA

By Justin Lilleyman

Key changes to WA’s industrial relations laws took effect on 20 Jun 2022, with the amendments covering a range of employment provisions including leave, contracts, harassment, and right of entry rules.

The Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Act 2021 (WA) is based on a range of recommendations arising from the 2018 Ritter review of the State industrial relations (IR) system and the 2019 Beech review into wage theft.

For employers covered by the state IR system, the amendments are largely based on existing provisions within the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act). The key changes include:

  • removing current exclusions from the definition of employee;
  • introducing a stop workplace bullying / sexual harassment jurisdiction;
  • providing an equal remuneration jurisdiction;
  • requiring the WAIRC to broaden the scope of private sector awards;
  • establishing penalties for breaches of employment conditions in line with the FW Act; and
  • prohibition on sham contracting arrangements.

However, there are a number of changes that impact employers covered by both State and national IR systems. These include:

  • establishment of Easter Sunday as a public holiday (this took effect on February 12, 2022) ;
  • range of amendments to the Long Service Leave Act 1958 (LSL Act) please refer to recent correspondence from REEFWA for further information;
  • providing the Industrial Magistrates Court with the capacity to treat illegal contracts of employment as valid; and
  • attempting to bring all local governments into the state IR system (will require Federal Government consent); and
  • changes to right of entry provisions, which will allow unions to make audio and visual recordings.

CCIWA, Business Law WA and REEFWA has taken all reasonable care in preparing this document. The contents of this document do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific advice for your situation should be sought from CCIWA, Business Law WA or a professional adviser before any action is taken.

Neither REEFWA, CCIWA nor Business Law WA accept responsibility for any claim that arises from any person acting or refraining from acting on the information contained in this document.

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