FAIR Work ombudsman, Natalie James has welcomed new laws protecting vulnerable workers coming into effect last week.
After gaining royal assent yesterday, the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 has now come into effect. This means new, higher penalties for serious contraventions of workplace laws and record keeping breaches.
New obligations extending liability for underpayment and other breaches in franchise and subsidiary networks to head offices will start on October 28.
The changes apply to all employers, companies and employees covered by the Fair Work Act but are particularly important for franchisors and holding companies, vulnerable employees and people or companies who do not voluntarily cooperate with Fair Work Ombudsman investigations.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has published a range of information and resources on its website at www.fairwork.gov.au aimed at assisting all workplace participants to understand and comply with their obligations.
Employees can get help resolving workplace issues and also report a workplace concern anonymously on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s ‘Record My Hours’ smartphone app is aimed at tackling the persistent problem of underpayment of vulnerable young workers by using geofencing technology to provide workers with a record of the time they spend at their workplace. The app can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.
Employers and employees seeking assistance can also contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.