Closing Loopholes passes both houses of parliament

A message from ARA CEO Paul Zahra about Closing Loopholes

After six months of debate and negotiations, the government’s Closing Loopholes legislation passed the Senate last week and the House of Representatives earlier this week, including several commonsense recommendations proposed by the ARA and other employer groups, tabled by crossbench senators.

The ARA has consistently opposed the Bill as poorly conceived and continued to express our concerns about the rushed approach, back-room deals and poor consultation through this process.

However, we also made constructive recommendations aimed at improving the Bill, particularly around casual work arrangements.

As a consequence of our advocacy efforts with the crossbench and opposition, many of the recommendations made by the ARA have been reflected in the final drafting of the legislation. These include:

  • allowing for an employee-initiated process for casual conversion;
  • removing the duplicative employer-led conversion process;
  • making sure that an employment contract can still be considered when determining an employees’ work status;
  • ensuring that historical work patterns are not the only determining factor on whether an employee can convert to permanent; and
  • allowing employers the right to refuse conversion requests on fair and reasonable operational grounds.

These amendments, put forward by Senators Pocock and Lambie, have been informed by positive engagement with the ARA and other employer groups in recent weeks. You can see a full summary of these amendments here.

While we have welcomed these amendments, we have also called out the need to provide greater clarity on the casual conversion process. You can read more in our media release below.

ARA MEDIA RELEASE

 

I am hopeful that the passage of this legislation draws a line under the most significant workplace relations changes in more than a decade.

Our focus will then shift into helping members prepare for these changes in the months ahead.

Until then, please contact our team at membership@retail.org.au with any queries about these changes or how they may affect your business.

All the best.

 

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