Australia strengthens workplace protection for vulnerable employees

The ratification of international treaties will see Australia heighten efforts to reduce workplace violence and harassment.
By: | June 16, 2023

Australia has taken a significant step towards bolstering workplace protection for vulnerable employees by ratifying two international treaties. The ratified treaties include the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No.138) and the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019.

The ILO’s Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No.138), establishes a framework to determine the minimum age at which young individuals can commence employment, ensuring their safety and uninterrupted access to education. Australia has set the minimum age requirement at 15 years, noting that the convention allows for children below this age to perform light work, including activities like newspaper deliveries, work within family business and volunteer work.

Highlighting its commitment to combat workplace violence and harassment, including gender-based violence, Australia has also ratified the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019. This convention mandates Australia to establish a legal framework that prohibits all forms of violence and harassment in the workplace. It emphasises the importance of monitoring and enforcing national laws, providing accessible dispute resolution mechanisms, safeguarding privacy, promoting non-discrimination, and supporting individuals who may be more vulnerable.

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Workplace violence and harassment have implications for the safety and wellbeing of employees in Australia, with women disproportionately affected. As a result of ratifying the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention, Australia is set to extend the entitlement of 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave to all 12 million employees by September 2024. This extension aims to provide vital support and protection to individuals experiencing such situations.