- McGowan Government passes the Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Bill 2021
- New laws deliver on election commitment to bolster employment protections for workers and recognises Easter Sunday as a public holiday in WA from 2022
- WA industrial laws will apply to all employees, including those engaged in domestic service in a private home
- The process to bring local government employers and employees within the State industrial relations system will now begin
The McGowan Government has passed the Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 through the Legislative Council, delivering on a 2021 election commitment in a major win for Western Australian workers.
The new laws will bolster protections for vulnerable employees in the State industrial relations system and ensure WA's employment laws apply to all workers in the State system by extending coverage of minimum wages and other employment conditions to domestic and support workers employed directly by household employers.
The Bill makes Easter Sunday a public holiday in WA, delivering on an election commitment, and gives employees a new entitlement to five days' unpaid family and domestic violence leave.
Other key provisions of the Bill which will now be enacted are:
- providing the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC) with the power to issue a stop sexual harassment order, consistent with the Australian Human Rights Commission's 2020 Respect@Work Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report. The WAIRC will also be able to issue a stop bullying order;
- introducing an equal remuneration jurisdiction for the WAIRC;
- introducing penalties for non-compliance with employment laws that align with the national industrial relations system and enhancing the powers of industrial inspectors to ensure compliance;
- prohibiting an employer from forcing an employee to pay back part of their wages ('cash backs');
- addressing the lack of certainty for WA local governments as to which industrial relations jurisdiction applies, by taking steps to bring all local governments under the State industrial relations system;
- modernising the Long Service Leave Act 1958; and
- providing that WAIRC commissioners who qualify for appointment as a magistrate be capable of appointment as an industrial magistrate.
Comments attributed to Industrial Relations Minister Stephen Dawson:
"This Bill rights many wrongs that have - until today - been undermining some of our most vulnerable workers and our otherwise robust State Industrial Relations System.
"Making Easter Sunday a public holiday recognises the cultural and religious significance of this day to many Western Australians.
"These new laws begin the process of ensuring that WA local government workers are finally where they belong: in the Western Australian industrial relations system.
"To complete that process, I am urgently seeking the agreement of the Federal Minister Michaelia Cash - as WA local government employees should be regulated by the WA Government, not Canberra.
"The passage of this Bill has delivered all employees in this State basic employment entitlements and protections. I'm proud to be part of a Government that has delivered these rights for our workers.
"Every worker deserves to be safe at work and this Bill reinforces that sexual harassment in the workplace should never be tolerated."
Minister's office - 6552 5800