Concerns raised over Closing Loopholes legislation in Australia

A business group has disputed the passing of the Right to Disconnect amendment, saying its implications has not been carefully considered.
By: | February 5, 2024

The Business Council of Australia (BCA) has raised concerns about the Closing Loopholes legislation, urging the government to adopt significant changes proposed by the crossbench to minimise harm to organisations and employees.

Bran Black, Chief Executive of the BCA, expressed disappointment over the government’s unexpected inclusion of the Right to Disconnect amendment in their report. Black criticised the lack of prior consultation and detailed information on the amendment, expressing concerns that it might be rushed through the parliament this week.

He said, “We are disappointed to see the government try to introduce the Right to Disconnect amendment at the eleventh hour with no consultation and no detail on what it will entail, and we fear it will be rammed through the parliament this week.”

Drawing attention to the Fair Work Commission’s recent discussion paper on the Right to Disconnect, Black urged the government to allow the consultation process to unfold before proposing any changes to the Fair Work Act.

Black stressed that the remaining Closing Loopholes legislation would make it more challenging for organisations to provide employment opportunities, offer higher wages, and expand their workforce.

“This legislation will create significant costs for organisations and result in less jobs and less opportunities, and we welcome moves by the crossbench and opposition to minimise the worst parts of the bill,” he added.

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While maintaining their opposition to the legislation, Black stressed that the BCA will continue to engage with the government, opposition, and crossbench senators, seeking substantial changes. The concerns raised extend to the potential impact on the 2.7 million casual employees in Australia, with fears that the proposed changes could lead to reduced flexibility, fewer casual jobs, and limited access to the increased take-home pay associated with casual work.