The Fair Work Amendment Act 2013 has now passed through Federal Parliament, and some changes have already come into effect.
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.