Among the various technical changes are provisions which are intended to address “zero hours contracts”.
The Bill defines these types of employment agreements as involving provisions where an employee’s performance of work is conditional on the employer making work available, but where there is no obligation on the employer to actually make work available, and where an employee is required to be available to accept any work made available by the employer.
The Bill proposes that these types of agreements be unlawful unless “compensation” is paid to an employee. Further, there are provisions for payments being due to an employee if an employer cancels any shift without appropriate notice (and employees being required to be paid for the duration of the shift in those circumstances).
The Bill also proposes to introduce a number of weapons in the Court’s arsenal to deal with breaches by
employers of minimum entitlements. This comes on the back of a number of serious and significant breaches of minimum standards that have been reported in the media.
Those ‘weapons’ include the Court making a declaration of breach of minimum entitlements, imposing pecuniary penalties on an employer of up to $100,000 (or three times the amount of the financial gain made by the employer by breaching minimum entitlements), and “banning” orders where a person could be banned from entering into an employment agreement as an employer for a period of up to 10 years.
The Bill has been referred to Select Committee and its report will be due in the new year.