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Legislative predictions - what to expect in 2020

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In 2019 workplace employment, work health and safety and other related legislation saw issues raised that will continue to play a role in change management throughout 2020.

The following are considerations to keep up to date with including particular timelines for implementation and reporting.

A useful process is to audit your current business practices and review against the required/pending changes. This will provide a gap analysis against which to risk assess and prioritise actions and resource accordingly.


Wage theft on the rise and under scrutiny

Wage theft with employers admitting to breaches of workplace laws with several instances of

employers failing to ensure staff received their full entitlements – Fair Work Act 2009.


Whistleblower policy by 2020

Whistleblower protections with amendments to the Corporations Act 2001 and Taxation

Administration Act 1953 to introduce and manage a whistleblowing scheme.

This must be in place by January 1, 2020.


Industrial manslaughter investigations and penalties

Industrial manslaughter prosecutions and changes across many jurisdictions. Changes to

WHS Acts have already occurred, or are in the process of changing in Queensland, NSW and

Victoria. This includes increases in penalties, a ban on insurance coverage for a monetary

penalty under the Act/s and widening investigative powers.


Freedom of speech and social media will remain a hot topic

Freedom of speech and social media including political and religious expression.

Repercussions are yet to be fully employed and determined throughout 2020.

The intention of the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill currently in progress is to provide

religious organisations the right to preference the employment of those who share their



Union related productivity controls through legislation

Unlawful picketing provisions have been strengthened in relation to the building industry to

prevent productivity loss - Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act

2016 (Cth) (BCIIP Act).


The proposed Ensuring Integrity Bill relates to tighter control over costs and delays that some

unions can cause in the building industry.


Modern Slavery Act business operations and supply chain

The Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act 2018 requires Australian entities with a consolidated

revenue of more than $100 mill to report annually on the risks of modern slavery in their

operations and supply chain and to address these.


Mandatory reporting will occur for the first time in 2020.


Privacy Act 1988 amendments with tougher penalties

Additional penalties and processes in place to tighten controls already in place to ensure

Australians are protected online.

This will equate to new compliance obligations in 2020.