The Fair Work Amendment Act 2013 has now passed through Federal Parliament, and some changes have already come into effect.
Since 1 July, 2013, a number of “family-friendly” changes surrounding flexible work arrangements have been in effect, Mondaq reported.
Jennifer Teh and Elizabeth Kidd of Holding Redlich outlined the changes employers must be aware of:
Range of employees who can apply for flexible work arrangements: This has been expanded to include employees with caring responsibilities, employees with disabilities, those who are 55 years or older, those experiencing family violence (or supporting/caring for a family or household member who is), and parents or guardians with children school age or younger.
Concurrent leave: New parents can now take a maximum of eight weeks of parental leave concurrently, and it can be taken in up to four separate periods of two weeks or more.
Transfer to safe job: Pregnant employees – regardless of tenure – can now transfer to a safe job with their employer.
Maternity leave: Unpaid special maternity leave taken by a female employee prior to giving birth does not affect the 12 months’ unpaid parental leave entitlement. An employee who has accrued entitlement to personal/carer’s leave may take that leave in place of their unpaid special maternity leave.
In addition to these changes, further right of entry rules, anti-bullying measures and changes to consultation regarding rosters and hours of work will come into effect from 1 January, 2014.