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Support for government legislation

Primary legislation

The department supported the development of the following legislation to implement the Government’s workplace relations priorities.

  • The Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Act 2018 passed the Parliament on December 2018. The Act commenced on 12 December 2018. It provides all national system employees with an entitlement to up to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave per year. An employee may take the leave when they need to do something to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence and it is impractical to do so outside their ordinary hours of work.
  • The Fair Work Amendment (Repeal of 4 Yearly Reviews and Other Measures) Act 2018 responds to two recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s Final Report into the Workplace Relations Framework. It removes the requirement for the Fair Work Commission to conduct 4-Yearly Reviews of Modern Awards (Schedule 1) and enables the Fair Work Commission to approve enterprise agreements despite minor errors made during enterprise bargaining. Schedule 3 implements review recommendations of former Federal Court judge the Hon Peter Heerey AM QC, including by applying the Judicial Misbehaviour and Incapacity (Parliamentary Commissions) Act 2012 so that Parliament can quickly deal with allegations of misbehaviour or incapacity against Fair Work Commission members.

Legislative instruments

The department developed and streamlined Regulations, Rules and other legislative instruments to give effect to the Government’s workplace relations priorities. Regulatory improvements made during 2018–19 included the following:

Regulations

  • The Fair Work Amendment (Casual Loading Offset) Regulations 2018 provide declaratory clarification of existing legal and equitable general law rights to offset payments of identified casual loading amounts where a person makes a subsequent claim to be paid one or more entitlements under the National Employment Standards. These Regulations commenced on 18 December 2018.
  • The Fair Work Amendment (Modernising Right of Entry) Regulations 2019 amend the Fair Work Regulations 2009 to modernise the form of entry permits to include the signature and photograph of the permit holder, and allow the FWC to update the form of entry permits. The Regulations also amend the form of entry notices and exemption certificates to restate obligations that apply when right of entry under the Fair Work Act 2009 is exercised. These Regulations commenced on 1 July 2019.
  • The Work Health and Safety Amendment (Labelling of Hazardous Chemicals) Regulations 2018 provide transitional arrangements for implementation of the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals and include measures to address overlapping labelling regimes. These Regulations commenced on 1 January 2019.
  • The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Regulations 2019 prescribe various matters for the purposes of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act), including by setting out matters relating to licences to self-insure; providing for the indexation and calculation of ‘normal weekly earnings’; and providing for the approval and renewal of rehabilitation program providers. These Regulations commenced on 28 March 2019.
  • The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Renewal Date) Regulations 2018 extend the prescribed renewal period for the approval of rehabilitation program providers by a year. These Regulations commenced on 16 October 2018.

Rules

  • The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Catastrophic Injury) Rules 2018 and the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation (Catastrophic Injury) Rules 2018 prescribe the conditions for an injury to be a ‘catastrophic injury’ for the purposes of the SRC Act and the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992 (Seafarers Act) respectively. These Rules commenced on 25 August 2018.
  • The Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) (Accreditation Scheme) Rules 2019 set out the Work Health and Safety Accreditation Scheme for people who wish to carry out building work funded by the Commonwealth or a corporate Commonwealth entity and prescribe the building work to which the accreditation scheme does not apply. These Rules commenced on 21 March 2019.

Other legislative instruments

  • The Fair Work (State Declarations — employer not to be national system employer) Endorsement 2019 (No.1) and the Fair Work (State Declarations — employer not to be national system employer) Endorsement 2018 (No.2) endorse declarations by the New South Wales Minister for Industrial Relations that the Far North West Joint Organisation, the Far South West Joint Organisation and certain named local councils are not national system employers for the purposes of the Fair Work Act 2009.
  • The Seacare Authority Code of Practice Approval 2018 — Health and Safety in Shipboard Work, Including Offshore Support Vessels is an approved code of practice on maritime health and safety for seafarers under section 109 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993. It commenced on 1 January 2019.
  • The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Specified Number for Redemption of Compensation) Instrument 2019 and the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation (Specified Rate for Redemption of Compensation) Instrument 2019 prescribe the rate to be used when calculating the value of the lump sum payable under a redemption made under section 30 of the SRC Act and in relation to the redemption of certain lump-sum payments made under the Seafarers Act respectively. They commenced on 15 March 2019.
  • The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Specified Persons and Acts) Declaration 2019 declared certain volunteers to be ‘employees’ for the purposes of the SRC Act. It commenced on 16 March 2019.
  • The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Specification of Medical Examination Interval)Instrument 2019 and the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation (Specification of Medical Examination Interval) Instrument 2019 specify the minimum interval between medical examinations that an employee may be required to attend under subsection 57(6) of the SRC Act and under prescribed provisions of the Seafarers Act respectively. They commenced on 15 March 2019.
  • The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Specified Laws) Amendment Declaration 2019 and the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation (Specified Laws) Declaration 2019 prescribe ‘specified laws’ of a state or territory to prevent ‘double compensation’ under the relevant Act and the ‘specified law’. They commenced on 16 and 15 March 2019 respectively.
  • The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Declarations and Specifications) Repeal Instrument 2019 repealed redundant declarations and specifications made under the SRC Act. It commenced on 16 March 2019.
  • The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Specified Diseases and Employment) Amendment Instrument 2019 corrects two typographical errors. It commenced on 15 March 2019.
  • The Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation (Rate of Interest Payable — s130(3)) Instrument 2019 specifies the rate of interest payable for certain late payments under subsection 130(2) of the Seafarers Act. It commenced on 15 March 2019.
  • The following declarations made four corporations eligible to apply for a licence to self-insure under the SRC Act:

– Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Licence Eligibility — CEVA Logistics (Australia) Pty Ltd) Declaration 2019 (commenced on 27 March 2019)

– Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Licence Eligibility — Ramsay Health Care Australia Pty Ltd) Declaration 2019 (commenced on 27 March 2019)

– Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Licence Eligibility — Vella Transport Administration Pty Ltd) Declaration 2019 (commenced on 6 April 2019)

– Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Licence Eligibility — Healthscope Operations Pty Ltd) Declaration 2019 (commenced on 6 April 2019).

  • The Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work Amendment (Exemptions) Instrument 2019 establishes a mechanism whereby a minister responsible for an intelligence or security agency can exempt certain building works from the definition of Commonwealth funded building work for the purposes of the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016. It commenced on 21 March 2019.