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Australia’s bold step toward gender pay transparency in large organisations

Jan 10, 2024


  • 2min

Australia’s bold step toward gender pay transparency in large organisations

Industry News, Legislative Changes, Talent Operations
A groundbreaking initiative to close the gender pay gap is set to take effect in Australia early this year.

Data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency shows that as of May 2023, women in Australia earned, on average, 87 cents for every dollar men earned. Legislative changes will compel larger organisations of 100 employees or more to disclose their gender pay data, marking a crucial step in promoting transparency, accountability, and ultimately closing the gender pay gap.

Mandatory gender pay reporting will be required for organisations with workforces exceeding 100 employees starting in 2024.

Key provisions

Mandatory gender pay reporting

Starting in 2024, organisations with a workforce exceeding 100 employees will be legally required to disclose their gender pay gaps. This disclosure will encompass data illustrating the disparities in earnings between male and female employees, shedding light on any existing inequalities.

Transparency in remuneration practices

The legislation is not solely focused on revealing the pay gap but also emphasises transparency in remuneration practices. Organisations will be obligated to provide insights into their salary structures, ensuring a clear understanding of how pay decisions are made within the organisation.

Inclusion of bonuses and benefits

Unlike previous reporting mechanisms that might have excluded bonuses and benefits, the new legislation mandates a comprehensive approach. Organisations will be required to disclose not only base salaries but also additional forms of compensation, providing a more accurate representation of the total remuneration received by employees.

Sector-specific benchmarks

Recognising that pay disparities may vary across industries, the legislation allows for the establishment of sector-specific benchmarks. This tailored approach aims to facilitate more nuanced assessments and comparisons within specific sectors, fostering targeted strategies for improvement.

Expected impact 

Heightened accountability

With mandatory disclosure, organisations will face increased accountability for their gender pay practices. The transparency brought about by the legislation will empower employees, investors, and the public to hold companies accountable for fostering an equitable workplace.

Identifying and addressing disparities

The detailed data on gender pay gaps, including bonuses and benefits, will enable organisations to identify specific areas of concern. Armed with this information, organisations can implement targeted strategies to address disparities and promote a more inclusive work environment.

Catalyst for change

The legislation serves as a catalyst for cultural and systemic change within organisations. By making gender pay data publicly accessible, there is a collective push for organisations to reassess their policies, promote fairness, and work towards closing the gender pay gap.

Australia’s decision to mandate gender pay disclosure in organisations with over 100 employees from 2024 signifies a landmark move toward workplace transparency and gender equality. 

As organisations prepare for compliance, the spotlight on gender pay gaps will undoubtedly drive a renewed commitment to fair remuneration practices, creating a more inclusive and equitable workforce for the future. This legislative shift reinforces Australia’s dedication to fostering gender equality and sets a progressive example for other nations to follow.

Our team can help you create and manage your own policies and procedures. Call us on 1800 868 254 or set up a meeting to discuss how we can help you.

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Recent FW decision in a digitally connected age

Nov 28, 2023


  • 2min

Recent FW decision in a digitally connected age

Industry News, Legislative Changes, Talent Operations
A person using their work laptop for personal browsing in a digitally connected age
In today’s digitally connected era, the line between personal and professional life has become increasingly blurred. The recent case of a lawyer being unfairly terminated for personal internet browsing during work hours sheds light on the challenges employers face in addressing this crossover.

This incident highlights the importance of establishing clear guidelines and procedures to balance an employee’s personal activities and professional responsibilities.

three men sit over a work table using a laptop and a personal phone.
We are more connected than ever, our business policies need to be adaptable.

Understanding the Modern Workplace Dynamics

In the age of remote work and constant connectivity, team members often find themselves juggling personal and work-related tasks. Employers need to recognise this reality and adapt their policies to accommodate the evolving nature of the workplace. The lawyer’s case underscores the need for a nuanced approach that considers the challenges of the modern work environment.

Performance Concerns and Remote Work Issues

The lawyer’s situation included concerns about both performance and unauthorised remote work. Employers must proactively address performance issues and set expectations for remote work to avoid misunderstandings. Regular performance evaluations, open communication, and clearly defined remote work policies can help mitigate such issues.

The Dilemma of Personal Internet Browsing

The lawyer’s seven-hour personal internet browsing over four days raised questions about the acceptable boundaries of personal activities during work hours. While employers have a legitimate interest in maintaining productivity, it is crucial to establish realistic expectations and communicate them clearly to team members. Striking a balance between personal freedom and professional responsibilities is key to fostering a healthy work environment.

Procedural Deficiencies in Termination

The Fair Work Commission’s ruling emphasised the procedural deficiencies in the lawyer’s termination. Employers should ensure that any disciplinary actions, including terminations, follow a fair and transparent process. This includes notifying team members of specific concerns, providing them with an opportunity to respond, and considering the overall context of their performance.

Recommendations for Employers

Clear Communication

Clearly communicate expectations regarding personal internet usage during work hours. Establish guidelines that distinguish acceptable from unacceptable behaviour.

Regular Performance Reviews

Conduct regular performance reviews to address concerns promptly and provide constructive feedback. This allows team members to understand expectations and improve their performance.

Remote Work Policies

Clearly define remote work policies, outlining when and how team members can work remotely. Address concerns about unauthorised remote work through open communication and collaboration.

Fair Disciplinary Process

Follow a fair and transparent disciplinary process when faced with performance issues. Notify team members of specific concerns, allow them to respond, and consider the overall context of their performance.

Training and Awareness

Provide training to team members on acceptable internet usage and the company’s policies. Foster awareness of the impact personal activities can have on overall productivity.

As the digital landscape continues to shape how we work, employers must adapt their policies and procedures to address the challenges posed by personal and work internet browsing crossover. Striking a balance between personal freedom and professional responsibilities and fair and transparent processes is essential for maintaining a productive and harmonious workplace. By navigating these boundaries thoughtfully, employers can foster a positive work environment that encourages accountability and employee well-being.

Our team can help you create and manage your own policies and procedures. Call us on 1800 868 254 or set up a meeting to discuss how we can help you.

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Fixed term contracts change

Nov 13, 2023


  • 2min

Fixed term contracts change

Industry News, Legislative Changes
Fixed term contract changes are coming into effect on 6 December 2023. The new rules focus on information transparency and time limitations on how fixed term contracts work. The changes aim to phase out fixed term contracts that should be part-time or full-time employment contracts.

The rules, or limitations, that are coming into effect focus on how long a fixed term contract can be, renewing a fixed term contract and how many times it can be renewed, and employing a person on consecutive contracts.

man in flannel shirt and cargo pants overlooks a field being ploughed by a red tractor
Fixed term contracts are commonly used in agriculture, transport, and seasonal work industries.
The changes also include the legal requirement for employers to provide team members with a Fixed Term Contract Information Statement (FTCIS) if they are engaged on a fixed term contract.
Time limitations:
  • A fixed term contract can’t be for longer than two years, including extensions and renewals.
  • Fixed term contracts can’t have an option to extend or renew the contract so that the employment period is longer than two years.
  • They cannot be extended or renewed more than once.

There are also rules surrounding consecutive contract limitations that reinforce the new rules. An employer cannot employ someone on a fixed term contract if the new contract is for the same work as a previous one. A substantial break in the employment relationship must exist before signing a new fixed term contract.

The new time limitation rules also apply to consecutive contracts; the employer cannot employ someone if the total period of employment for the previous and new fixed term contracts is more than two years or if the new fixed term contract can be extended or renewed.

The changes also include the legal requirement for employers to provide team members with a Fixed Term Contract Information Statement (FTCIS) if they are engaged on a fixed term contract.

The new limitations make keeping team members on ongoing fixed term contracts harder. Fixed term contracts are not a replacement for part-time or full-time employment contracts.

As with most employment updates, there are exceptions to all of these rules. Exceptions include specialised skills,  training arrangements, essential work, emergency circumstances or temporary absences, high income team members, government funded contracts, governance positions and if there are any award provisions for fixed term contracts.

You can visit the Fair Work Ombudsman for more information. They also have a breakdown of the changes with examples.

If you need help creating new employment contracts, please contact our HR experts on 1800 868 254 or email us at info@totalhrm.com.au.

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Positive duty to eliminate unlawful acts

Oct 31, 2023


  • 2min

Positive duty to eliminate unlawful acts

Industry News, Legislative Changes
man in check suit jacket corners a woman in a green shirt against a glass wall. She is uncomfortable with her arms crossed.
Since the revised Sex Discrimination Act came into effect at the end of 2022, employers have a positive duty to eliminate unlawful acts. The unlawful acts includes discrimination on the grounds of sex in a work context, sexual harassment in connection with work, sex-based harassment in connection with work, and conduct creating a workplace environment that is hostile on the grounds of sex and related acts of victimisation. 

The goal of these changes is to help create safe, respectful, and inclusive workplaces for all. There is now a legal obligation placed on organisations and businesses to take proactive and preventative steps to stop unlawful conduct from occurring in the workplace or in connection to work.  

woman sits at an desk with her phone, laptop and diary. A male colleague is standing over her shoulders, with one hand resting on her shoulder.
Businesses and organisations must be proactively eliminating unlawful acts in the workplace.
The changes effect organisations and businesses across Australia, regardless of their size or industry. The major difference is on prevention, instead of addressing it only after an incident has occurred.  

From December 2023, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) will have new powers to investigate and enforce the positive duty.  

Respect@Work outlines the wide range of different behaviours that are considered to be sexual harassment, including:  

  • inappropriate physical contact 
  • intrusive questions about a person’s private life or physical appearance 
  • sharing or threatening to share intimate images or video without consent 
  • images or videos that are sexually suggestive or that constitute a sexual advance 
  • unwelcome touching, hugging, cornering or kissing 
  • repeated or inappropriate invitations to go out on dates 
  • sexually suggestive comments or jokes that offend or intimidate 
  • requests or pressure for sex or other sexual acts 
  • sexually explicit gifts, images, videos, cartoons, drawings, photographs, or jokes. 
  • actual or attempted rape or sexual assault 
  • following or watching someone inappropriately, or someone loitering inappropriately, either in person or via technology 
  • sexually explicit comments made in person or in writing, or indecent messages (SMS, social media), phone calls or emails—including the use of emojis with sexual connotations 
  • sexual gestures, indecent exposure or inappropriate display of the body 
  • technology-facilitated unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature—including on virtual meetings 
  • inappropriate staring or leering 
  • repeated or inappropriate advances on email or other online social technologies. 
The AHRC has published comprehensive guidelines to help businesses to understand what positive duty is, who must meet the positive duty, how positive duty will be enforced and other related legal obligations. 

They also have a Resource for Small Businesses on the Positive Duty to help small businesses to satisfy their obligations to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.  

If you feel unsafe now, please call 000. For a full list of support services, visit AHRC Support Services.

If you are in NSW and need support, you can call Domestic Violence Line Department of Community Services: 1800 656 463 (24 hours)

In Victoria you can contact Sexual Assault Crisis Line Crisis Line: 1800 806 292 (free call).

If you need to implement workplace policy to ensure you are complying with legislation, or if you have a workplace related question, please contact our team of HR experts on 1800 868 254. Total HRM can help you create or adapt your existing policies.

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Legislation changes from 1 July 2023

Jun 27, 2023


  • 2min

Legislation changes from 1 July 2023

Industry News, Legislative Changes
Are you ready for all the changes happening on 1 July? There is a new minimum wage, updated parental leave rules, and increased superannuation payments.

Paid parental leave will be combined with the current Dad and Partner Pay entitlement, taking the combined total for partnered couples to 20 weeks paid parental leave between them. Parents who are single at the time of their claim can access the full 20 weeks.

The government has combined paid parental leave with Dad and Partner Pay entitlements, taking paid parental leave to a total of 20 weeks.
The changes to paid parental leave entitlements affect government payments only. Employers are still not required to offer their own paid parental leave, although many employers choose to provide this as a discretionary benefit. You must update your policies regarding parental leave from 1 July 2023.

The changes will affect parents whose babies are born or adopted from July 2023. The Labor government aims to progressively increase it to 26 weeks by 2026.

 Other changes include:

  • allowing partnered employees to claim a maximum of 20 weeks’ pay between them, with each partner taking at least 2 weeks (except in some circumstances)
  • introducing a $350,000 family income limit (indexed annually from 1 July 2024) for claiming paid parental leave pay
  • expanding the eligibility rules for fathers or partners to claim paid parental leave pay
  • making the whole payment flexible so that eligible employees can claim it in multiple blocks until the child turns 2
  • parents can share their Parental Leave Pay with each other
  • allowing parents to both take parental leave at any time in the 24 months after the birth or placement of their child 
  • removing the requirement to return to work to be eligible for the entitlement
  • pregnant employees and primary adoptive parents can access parental leave days up to six weeks before their expected due date
  • Any unused Parental Leave Pay days will be forfeited to encourage both parents to access the payment. Single parents will get the total amount.  
  • increasing the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) 


Employers should review their parental leave policies and practices to ensure compliance with these changes by 1 July 2023. If you would like advice or assistance to update your policies, please get in touch with our team, and we will be more than happy to help you ensure you are ready to go from 1 July.  

The national minimum wage will increase from $21.38 per hour to $23.23 per hour for our lowest-paid employees. The minimum rate for awards will increase by 5.75%.

You must be paying the new rate as of 1 July 2023. Our team is here to help you with any questions or concerns about the new national minimum wage and the award rate increase.

If you are covered by a registered agreement, your pay rate might also increase, as the base pay rate in a registered agreement cannot be less than the base pay rate in the relevant award.

These changes will take effect from your first full pay cycle after 1 July 2023, meaning if your pay period starts on Monday, the changes will take effect on Monday, 3 July 2023.

Also increasing on 1 July is the Superannuation Guarantee rate from 10.5% to 11%. Speak with your accountants to ensure your contributions are following the latest legislation.

As always, our team is here to help you. You can book a call with an expert or call us directly on 1800 868 254. If you need help reviewing your HR Documentation or creating new policies, please reach out to us and we’ll be happy to assist.

You can find out more about paid parental leave entitlements here:

https://www.fairwork.gov.au/newsroom/news/changes-to-the-paid-parental-leave-scheme

https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/changes-if-you-get-family-payments?context=64479

For more information about the National Minimum Wage, visit:

https://www.fairwork.gov.au/newsroom/news/awr-2023#:~:text=National%20Minimum%20Wage%20increase,-The%20National%20Minimum&text=From%201%20July%202023%2C%20the,week%20or%20%2423.23%20per%20hour

All Superannuation information can be found here or talk to your accountant:


https://www.ato.gov.au/Rates/Key-superannuation-rates-and-thresholds/?=redirected_SuperRate&anchor=Superguaranteepercentage#Superguaranteepercentage

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Secure Job, Better Pay Upcoming Changes

May 30, 2023


  • 2min

Secure Job, Better Pay Upcoming Changes

Industry News, Legislative Changes
Blue tile with white bold writing stating that "new regorms introduced for Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act"
The next round of workplace relations upcoming changes will be introduced on 6 June 2023 as part of the Secure Job, Better Pay Act from the government.

This round of changes will impact flexible working arrangements, fixed-term contracts, changes to agreement making, and more powers to the Fair Work Commission. The objectives of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act changes “are to promote job security, gender equality and collective bargaining, including through greater intervention by the Fair Work Commission (FWC).” (FWC 2022

Table from the Fair Work Ombudsman outlining the key starts dates for the Secure Job Better Pay Act. White background with blue text.
For more information, visit Fair Work Ombudman.
Flexible Work arrangements and unpaid parental leave disputes 

There will be an increase in who can access flexible working arrangements and stricter conditions as to what employers can deem reasonable grounds.
Employers must respond reasonably to flexible work arrangement requests from team members who are:

  • Over 55
  • Living with a disability 
  • Caring for infants or school-aged children 
  • Carers (within the meaning of the Carer Recognition Act 2010 (Ch)), or 
  • Experiencing family and domestic violence, or caring for someone who is. 
  • Pregnant 

There will be an increased obligation on the “employer to consult, provide reasons for a refusal, and to discuss any flexible work arrangements the employer is willing to make.”  

The response must be in writing within 21 days of the request, either agreeing, providing an alternative amendment, or refusing with reasons. Requests can only be refused after discussions between parties where they have tried to reach an agreement. Only for certain reasons can it be denied, such as the cost would be too high or the changes would be impractical.  

The National Employment Standards provide guidance for requests for flexible work arrangements and unpaid parental leave. The FWC will receive new powers to deal with disputes in the amendment.  

Fixed-term contracts are changing  

 In an attempt to combat job instability, the government is trying to prevent the ongoing use of fixed-term contracts by introducing a cap of no more than two years (including renewals) or two consecutive contracts (whichever is shorter).  As with flexible work arrangements, the FWC will have the power to deal with disputes.  

There are exceptions for fixed-term contracts, including engaging an employee with a specialised skillset to complete a specific task and apprentices or trainees. It also allows for essential workers during peak periods (including seasonal workers), emergency situations, covering a permanent employee who is on leave, and if an employee is earning more than the high-income threshold. The FWC will develop a Fixed-term contract information sheet to be provided to employees. 


Zombie Agreements are being phased out

Zombie agreements are those agreements that were made before the FW Act came into effect on 1 January 2010. Most zombie agreements no longer operate, but those still in use will be automatically terminated on 7 December 2023 unless you apply for an application to the FWC. Employers must notify anyone working under a zombie agreement about the changes before 7 June 2023. The notice must be in writing.  If you need clarification, the FWC has made a list. You can find the list here.  

More changes include the Abolition of the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC), with its functions moving to the Fair Work Commission, the creation of 2 expert panels at the Fair Work Commission to focus on pay equity and the care and community sector and increased access to multi-employer bargaining through single-interest bargaining, supported bargaining, cooperative bargaining. 

To talk with one of our HR Experts, you can book a call or you can call us on 1800 868 254.

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Changes to the Victoria Child Employment Act

May 23, 2023


  • 2min

Changes to the Victoria Child Employment Act

Industry News, Legislative Changes
Victorian child employment laws and requirements are changing on 1 July 2023. The most significant change is the introduction of a licensing system, replacing the existing permit system.

You will now need to apply for a licence before employing people under 15 as part of the changes to the Victoria Child Employment Act; previously, you had to have a permit for each individual child working. The changes are designed to “strengthen protections for children in the workplace and make it simpler for employers to understand their obligations.”

If you employ children under 15-years of age, you must have a valid child employment licence from 1 July 2023 in Victoria.
Introducing a child employment licence will replace the existing permit system, streamlining the process and simplifying it for employers. “Where a licence is issued, employers will be able to employ multiple children under one licence, rather than applying for a permit for each child they engage.”

Licences will be free, and applications can be made from 1 July on the Victorian Government website.
An employer must have a licence before they employ someone under 15. With the new licences coming into effect on 1 July, prior child work permits will continue to be upheld, so you won’t need to apply for a licence for a child you already employ and have a permit for.

Victorian Child Employment Laws:
There are no minimum ages for working in a family business or the entertainment and advertising industry.

For any other work, a child must be at least:

  • 11 to do delivery work (not including pharmaceutical)
  • 13 to do other types of work, such as retail or hospitality.

There are restrictions on how many hours a child can work:

  • Children cannot work during school times
  • During school term, children can only be employed for a maximum of 3 hours a day and a total of 12 hours per week
  • During school holidays, the maximum a child can work is 6 hours per day and 30 hours per week
    Children under 15 must have a rest break every 30 minutes for every 3-hour shift. There must be 12 hours break between finishing one shift and starting the next.

There are exemptions, and you can apply for variations if these don’t align with your business.
The major exemption is for family businesses. Parents or guardians don’t need a child employment permit to employ their child in a family business.
They are also exempt from age restrictions, hours of work and rest breaks. However, a parent or guardian must directly supervise their child. If another person is the child’s supervisor, these exemptions do not apply.

The changes to Victoria Child Employment Act are be enforced by The Wage Inspectorate, who will receive increased powers on 1 July. Child safe standards must be complied with to ensure each child’s safety in the day-to-day operations of any organisation, helping to keep children safe from physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse and neglect. The Wage Inspectorate can issue compliance notices as a way of achieving compliance with the Act and infringement notices where a breach has been detected. Fines for non-compliance can range from $1000 to $10,000 per incident.

NSW Child Employment laws:
There is no minimum age in NSW, but there are restrictions on the number of hours a child can work on a school day. You have to contact the Fair Work Ombudsman or SafeWork NSW to find your relevant terms and conditions. You should contact NSW Education if you intend to work during school terms. (Source: NSW Industrial Relations)


If you need any HR advice, please call our team on 1800 868 254 or you can email us at info@totalhrm.com.au. Alternatively, book a call with our experts.

Read more on the Victorian Government Website.

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