The Fair Work Act seeks that workplaces in Australia should be more worker and family friendly through its imposed legislative changes introduced in the Parliament. The proposed amendments were highlighted during the second reading of the legislative bill last 21 March 2013.
The changes propose to ensure a safe workplace and thus empower the organisation's workers. Details of the changes include improved flexibility in connection with parental leaves. It also seeks to protect pregnant women to transfer safely to a job.
The amendments seek also to expand rights of pregnant women to benefit from more flexible working arrangements. This covers working parents, workers with caring responsibilities, middle-age/mature-age workers and those who have disabilities and suffering from domestic violence.
This privilege is only applicable to pregnant employees with the right to transfer to safer jobs if they have enough proof that they cannot work in their usual role due to safety risks arising from pregnancy or an illness. The pregnant employee must have rendered at least 12-month’s service, among other things.
However, to expand the rights of pregnant workers, the enhanced legislative bill will also cover those who have rendered less than 12 months service at the time of birth.
The employee in this situation would be entitled for unpaid no safe job leave should there be no safe job available for the pregnant worker. The legislative changes will also deal with workplace bullying by providing workers with the right to access to timely recourse through the Fair Work Commission.
Trade unions will likewise benefit from the right to entry into workplaces. The Fair Work Commission would be given special powers to deal with work disputes relating to frequency of right to entry visits to a workplace.
The proposed amendments were documented on the Second Reading Speech of Fair Work Amendment Bill 201.