The McGowan Government will today introduce the Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 into State Parliament to modernise Western Australia’s employment laws.
The Bill implements the Government’s election commitments to make Easter Sunday a public holiday from 2022, and to introduce an entitlement to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave per year for all employees.
The new laws will also extend coverage of minimum conditions to domestic and support workers employed directly by household employers, to ensure WA’s employment laws apply to all employees in the State industrial relations system.
Other key provisions of the Bill are:
- provide the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission the power to issue a stop-bullying order in relation to sexual harassment, consistent with the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2020 [email protected] Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report;
- introducing an equal remuneration jurisdiction for the WAIRC;
- introducing penalties for non-compliance with employment laws that align with the national industrial relations system and enhancing the powers of industrial inspectors to ensure compliance;
- prohibiting an employer from forcing an employee to pay back part of their wages (‘cash backs’);
- addressing the lack of certainty for WA local governments as to which industrial relations jurisdiction applies, by taking steps to bring all local governments under the State industrial relations system;
- modernising the Long Service Leave Act 1958; and
- providing that WAIRC commissioners who qualify for appointment as a magistrate be capable of appointment as an industrial magistrate.
As stated by Industrial Relations Minister Stephen Dawson:
“This legislation implements recommendations from the 2018 Ministerial Review of the State Industrial Relations System and the 2019 Inquiry into Wage Theft in Western Australia, which will increase protections for workers and help modernise the State industrial relations system.
“Making Easter Sunday a public holiday recognises the cultural and religious significance of this day to many Western Australians.
“WA’s employment laws do not currently apply to all employees in the State industrial relations system. The Bill removes the exclusions so domestic and support workers employed directly by households will be entitled to minimum employment protections for the important work they do.
“By ending the outdated exclusions, this Bill will remove the barrier to Australia ratifying the International Labour Organization Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 which aims to support the global fight against modern slavery.”