The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022

‘Closing Loopholes’ – Key Amendments – Edition 3

The Australian Government introduced the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 to close ‘loopholes’ and gaps in employment law.

In this final edition in of our series, we will review the additional amendments made to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) through the Closing Loopholes No 2. Bill implemented in 2024.

For readers who are just joining this series, we encourage you to read edition 1 and edition 2.

Within this blog, we will be reviewing the approved changes to criminalising wage theft, regulations for labour hire arrangements, changes to small business redundancy provisions and the introduction of manslaughter offences.

Criminalising Wage Theft

This makes it a criminal offence for employers who intentionally underpay their employees under the FW Act or industrial instrument such as a modern award or enterprise agreement.

The new wage theft offences carry significant penalties, which are additional to the rectification costs of the underpayments, including up to 10 years imprisonment and very large fines.

These changes are due to come into effect on 1 January 2025.

Same Job, Same Pay (Regulating Labour Hire Arrangements)

Employees, unions and host employers can apply to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for an order that labour hire employers must pay their employees — who are supplied to a host employer — at least the same rate they would receive under that host employer’s enterprise agreement, or other relevant workplace instrument.

Any orders of the FWC will not come into effect until 1 November 2024.

Changes to Small Business Redundancy Provisions

Employees can no longer be disadvantaged with a lack of entitlement to redundancy pay due to the employer having fewer than 15 employees in circumstances where they are made redundant in a downsizing process in which the business previously had 15 or more employees.

Introduction of a Commonwealth Industrial Manslaughter Offence

The Closing Loopholes Bill introduces a new Federal offence of industrial manslaughter under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (WHS Act).  Under these new laws, a workplace can be held criminally responsible for the death of a worker if the death was caused by intentional conduct that breaches the workplace’s health and safety duty.

The new laws outline that a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) or an officer of the PCBU will have committed an offence under the FW Act if:

  • they have a health and safety duty
  • they have intentionally engaged in conduct that breaches the health and safety duty and that conduct causes the death of the individual
  • the PCBU or the officer of the PCBU was reckless or negligence as to whether the conduct would cause the death of an individual.

The penalties for a breach of this offence include:

  • 25 years’ imprisonment for an individual
  • $18 million for a body corporate.

The industrial manslaughter offence is set to commence on 1 July 2024.

What Should Employers Do?

Criminalising Wage Theft

Employers should be mindful of these requirements and ensure they are meeting their minimum pay obligations.  This should include a Better Off Overall Test (“BOOT”), taking into account any wage increases.  Bramwell Partners can conduct a BOOT for clients to ensure these requirements are met.

Redundancy changes

Where an employer is downsizing, advice should be sought on the correct process and obligations to protect their business as much as possible.

Industrial Manslaughter Offence

The best protection a business and PCBU can have is to ensure a robust workplace health and safety system is in place and ensure risks are managed effectively.

Seeking Further Advice?

For employers, it is essential to be across these important changes to Australian workplace laws and understand how they may impact your workforce and your obligations as employer.

Bramwell Partners can work with employers to discuss and put in place reasonable steps to mitigate risk to your business as outlined above.

Discover how our dedicated HR consultants can help mitigate risks and ensure workplace compliance calling us for a free consultation on 07 3630 5695.



The content contained in this publication is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest. It is not intended to be comprehensive, nor does it constitute legal advice. We attempt to ensure that the Content is current, but we do not guarantee its currency. We advise all readers to seek professional and legal advice to suit their individual circumstances.