Vulnerable Workers Legislation Passes Through Senate

The Senate last Monday (September 4)  passed tough new laws that will see penalties of up to $630,000 for employers who knowingly underpay their employees.

These laws will also see franchisors and holding companies held accountable for any breaches of employment laws by their franchisees and subsidiaries.


The Vulnerable Workers Legislation gives the Fair Work Ombudsman new investigative powers.

The ARA understands that most employers put in a lot of time and effort to understand and comply with their complex obligations under Australian employment law. Any employer who knowingly underpays not only harms their employees, but gains an unfair advantage over their competitors, harming the vast majority of business owners who do the right thing.

It is important these new investigation powers and penalty provisions are used in a targeted way, and only in the most serious and repeated cases of non-compliance.

The ARA will work with the Fair Work Ombudsman to ensure these new laws are approached in a practical way. Australia has one of the most complex systems of workplace relations in the world.

Lengthy and prescriptive industrial awards as well as overlapping legislated standards means there is a high risk of inadvertent error.

The ARA encourages all employers to familiarise themselves with their obligations and to seek advice and assistance from the ARA employment law team on 1300 368 041 (option 1)



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