How the changes will impact you and your business

The federal government’s Industrial Relations (IR) laws have passed with the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Act 2023 and Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes No 2) Act 2024 already amending parts of the Fair Work Act 2009 (‘FW Act’). 

More amendments will take effect from July, August, November and from January 2025. We’ve put together a guide to help you understand how the amendments will impact you and your business, and what you need to do to be prepared. 


NOTE: a small business for the purposes of the FW Act is a business with 14 or fewer employees via a headcount.  


Amendments passed into legislation 

Who will be impacted 

Commenced 15 December 2023 

Small business redundancy exemption 

Amendment to the exemption that large employers who downsize and become small businesses (falling below the 15-employee threshold) in the period leading up to insolvency are not exempt from paying redundancy pay. 

Businesses undergoing insolvency or receivership 

Regulated labour hire arrangement (Same job same pay) 


An application may be made to the Fair Work Commission that labour hire employees must be paid what they would receive doing the same work as employees of the host employer. 

Approved applications won’t come into effect until 1 November 2024. 

Businesses who use or intend to use labour hire and labour hire businesses 

Workplace delegates’ rights (#1) 


Workplace and union delegates have new workplace rights and protections including access to paid time off for training, and protection from being hindered from exercising their rights as a workplace delegate. 

All employers 

Protections for those subject to family and domestic violence 

Employers are prohibited from taking adverse action against or terminating the employment of a person on the basis that they are subject to family and domestic violence. 

All employers 

Compulsory conciliation conferences in protected action ballot order (PABOs) matters 

Employees can take protected industrial action, through a protected action ballot order (PABO), even if some bargaining representatives disobey an order of the Fair Work Commission to attend a conference. 

Businesses bargaining for an enterprise agreement 


Workplace Health and Safety right of entry 

Union officials no longer require an entry permit to enter a workplace should they be assisting a health and safety representative perform their functions under state or territory WHS law (Work Health and Safety Act (QLD)) 2011. 

All employers 

Commenced 27 February 2024 

Intractable Bargaining 

Fair Work Commission to arbitrate over enterprise agreement negotiations. Outcome unable to provide any worse terms for employees. 

Businesses bargaining for an enterprise agreement 

Sham Arrangement 

Strengthened defenses against sham arrangements. 

All employers 

Compliance Notices 

Fair Work Ombudsman compliance notices to be clarified. 

All employers 

Civil Penalties 

Five time (5x) increase to the value of civil penalties. 

All employers 

Multi Franchise 

Franchisees will be able to bargain together under the single-EA stream.

Franchisees bargaining for an enterprise agreement

Leaving Multi-Enterprise 

Businesses within multi-enterprise agreements are able to more easily exit the agreement to bargain for a single EA 

Businesses within multi-enterprise agreements 



Amendments passed but not yet taken effect 

Who will be impacted 

Will take effect on 1 July 2024 

Workplace delegates’ rights 


Modern awards varied to include a delegates’ rights terms to have effect (if a variation has been made). Delegates’ rights term must be included in workplace determinations and Enterprise Agreements.  

All employers 

Will take effect on 27 August 2024 

Right to Disconnect 


Employees have the right to refuse to monitor, read or respond to contact, or attempted contact, from an employer outside of the employee’s working hours unless the refusal is unreasonable.  

Businesses other than small business 

Casual employment 

Employers no longer required to offer casual conversion as per the existing FW Act provisions. 

Definition of employment changed to capture post-employment conduct. 

Casual employees to give notice of intent to change employment to permanent. 

Disputes to be resolved through Fair Work Commission 

All employers with casual employees or intending hire casual employees. 

Regulated workers (Platform) 

Person engaged in employee-like work through a digital labour platform operator to perform work gain rights through 

Minimum Standard Orders, Minimum Standards Guidelines, Collective Agreements. 

Regulated worker gain protection from unfair contract terms, unfair deactivation/termination. 

Digital Labour Platform Consultative Committee to be established. 

Businesses engaging with Digital Labour Platform and platform workers. 

Regulated workers (Road Transport) 

Owner Drivers gain rights through Minimum Standard Orders, Minimum Standards Guidelines, Collective Agreements and protection from unfair contract terms, unfair deactivation/termination. 

Expert Panel for the road transport industry and Road Transport Advisory Group to be established. 

Businesses and contractors within a road transport supply chain. 

Will take effect on 1 November 2024 

Regulated labour hire arrangement (Same job, Same pay) 

Regulated labour hire arrangement (Same Job, Same Pay) made by the FWC orders can commence.

Labour Hire businesses and employers engaging Labour Hire providers with enterprise agreements

Will take effect on 1 January 2025 

Wage Theft 


The intentional underpayment of wages, including superannuation, is a criminal offence. 


Employers will only be criminally liable where they intentionally underpay employees.   

All employers 

Will take effect on 27 August 2025 

Right to Disconnect 



Employees have the right to refuse to monitor, read or respond to contact, or attempted contact, from an employer outside of the employee’s working hours unless the refusal is unreasonable. 

Small business 


Download as a PDF here


If you’re struggling to navigate these changes, you don’t have to tackle them alone with our Workplace Advisory Services team here to help. 


Some actions you should take now to prepare: 

Understand the laws that will impact you and make note of the actions you need to take including: 

  • Review employment contracts 
  • Review business practices as they relate to independent contractors, casual employees, contacting employees outside of their normal working hours 
  • Review pay and conditions against the applicable modern award/s 


Not sure where to start? 

It is crucial employers understand the changes to the legislation that will impact their business.  

You don’t need to tackle these matters on your own. Our Workplace Advisory Services team can assist with a practical understanding of these new IR laws and the actions your business will need to take. 



IR laws in practice 

Johnny has employed Sammy for over a year as a casual employee. Sammy works pretty regular hours and wants to be made permanent, but Johnny isn’t sure how to approach this. 

Scenario 1 

Johnny has heard about the changes to IR laws and knows this is important but takes no action, hoping the situation will go away. After consistent requests for meetings from Sammy, she grows frustrated and contacts the Fair Work Ombudsman. The Fair Work Ombudsman calls Johnny looking for answers resulting in a lengthy investigation process.  

Scenario 2 

Johnny is a member of Business Chamber Queensland and as part of his membership has access to Employer Assistance Services. He reaches out to the Workplace Services team for advice on the steps he must take to consider Sammy converting from casual to permanent employment. 


Linda regularly calls employees after hours, usually for matters she considers to be business critical. Sometimes, she’ll call very late at night as she is completing the day’s banking and other administrative tasks. She is worried that under the new ‘right to disconnect’ reforms this won’t be possible.  

Scenario 1 

While concerned, Linda takes no action and continues to contact her employees after hours. Linda’s employees put in a formal complaint against her to the Fair Work Commission who put in place an order restricting when she can contact employees outside of work and the reasons for doing so. 

Scenario 2 

Linda is a long-time member of Business Chamber Queensland and makes an appointment to speak with the Workplace Services team prior to this law being passed so she is equipped with the knowledge to navigate how she can suitably contact her employees.

Acknowledgement of Country

Business Chamber Queensland respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners and custodians of the lands from across Queensland and the Torres Strait. We acknowledge the Jagera and Turrbal people as the Traditional Custodians of Meanjin (Brisbane), the lands where our office is located and the place we meet, work and learn. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.