New laws to bolster employment protections

  • Employment laws to extend coverage to all Western Australian employees
  • Increased penalties for contraventions of employment laws
  • Increased powers for industrial inspectors
  • Inclusion of stop workplace bullying provisions
  • The McGowan Government will introduce the Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 into State Parliament today (June 25).

    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, and include:

    • removing the exclusions from the definition of employee to ensure WA’s employment laws apply to all employees in the State industrial relations system;
    • providing workers with access to the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC) for redress from workplace bullying;
    • introducing an equal remuneration jurisdiction for the WAIRC;
    • modernising the Long Service Leave Act 1958;
    • introducing penalties for non-compliance that aligns with the Federal system;
    • prohibiting an employer from forcing an employee to pay back part of their wages (‘cash backs’);
    • enhancing the powers of industrial inspectors to ensure employment compliance; and
    • addressing the lack of certainty for WA local governments, regarding industrial relations jurisdiction, by taking steps to bring all local governments under the State IR system.

    As stated by Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston:

    “Astoundingly, Western Australia’s employment laws do not currently apply to all employees in the State industrial relations system.

    “The employee exclusions have been identified by the Commonwealth Government as a 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.

    “The penalties for non-compliance were last increased 18 years ago; this legislation will protect vulnerable workers, tackle wage theft and modernise WA’s employment laws.

    “I’d like to thank Senior Counsel Mark Ritter, Tony Beech and Member for Forrestfield Stephen Price whose recommendations guided this legislation.”

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