Millions of working Australians will benefit from increased workplace flexibility and protections through changes to the Fair Work Act which take effect today, 1 July.
From today, the right to request flexible workplace arrangements have been expanded to:
- parents returning to work after a period of parental leave;
- parents with school-age children;
- workers with caring responsibilities;
- mature-age workers;
- workers with disability; and
- those suffering family violence and their carers.
Mums and dads will also have greater flexibility in the taking of parental leave. From today, the length of concurrent unpaid parental leave will be increased to eight weeks and parents will have greater flexibility about when it can be taken in the 12 months after the birth of their child.
New arrangements also taking effect today will mean that all pregnant employees have the right to transfer to a safe job and that taking unpaid special maternity leave does not reduce a mother’s entitlement to unpaid parental leave.
New consultation requirements to ensure that employers genuinely consult with employees about changes to regular rosters and working hours will take effect from 1 January 2014.
Under these changes, employers will have to take genuine account of how changes will impact employees, particularly in relation to their family and caring responsibilities.
This Government understands that now more than ever, Australians juggle caring responsibilities and family commitments and the demands of work.
The new specialist Pay Equity Unit begins operation within the Fair Work Commission today, continuing the Government’s strong support of women in the workforce—particularly those in low-paid, female-dominated sectors.
The Pay Equity Unit will undertake research and data collection to inform matters related to pay equity under the Fair Work Act 2009, including equal remuneration applications made under section 302 of the Fair Work Act 2009.
Labor has a common-sense and modern plan for Australian workplaces and this Labor Government is determined to ensure more Australians achieve a decent balance between work and family life.
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberley Gardiner 0427 138 106