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Many Bills lapsed following the dissolution of parliament ahead of the federal election. In this article, we look at several of these pertaining to employment, social security and superannuation.

Written and accurate as at: 15 May 2019

 

With parliament having been dissolved ahead of the 2019 federal election, a number of Bills that were introduced into parliament (some dating back to early 2018) have now lapsed.

Given this, when parliament resumes post-election, if the desire remains to still proceed with these Bills, then new Bills will need to be introduced and make their way through the parliamentary process.

Below we take a closer look at the details of several of these pertaining to employment, social security and superannuation. Also, given the upcoming election (and the possibility of change), we provide context around who introduced them into parliament.

 

Employment

Equal Pay Standard Bill 2018

In summary, this requires employers to obtain certification of compliance with an equal pay standard. Importantly, the requirement for certification covers employers that employ, or usually employ, at least:

  • 250 employees (on and after 1 January 2020)
  • between 150 and 249 employees (on and after 1 January 2021)
  • between 90 and 149 employees (on and after 1 January 2022)
  • between 25 and 89 employees (on and after 1 January 2023)

For context, this was introduced into parliament by Andrew Wilkie MP (private member) on 26 November 2018 and lapsed at dissolution on 11 April 2019.

 

Fair Work Amendment (Right to Request Casual Conversion) Bill 2019

In summary, this inserts a new right into the National Employment Standards for eligible employees to request to convert to full-time or part-time employment.

Whilst some modern awards (awards) and enterprise agreements already contain a right to request conversion clause, this fills the gap in relation to:

  • employees who are covered by an award that does not contain a right to request casual conversion
  • employees to whom an enterprise agreement applies and who are
    • covered by an award that does not contain a right to request casual conversion, or
    • not covered by an award at all
  • employees who are award and agreement free

For context, this was introduced into parliament by the Jobs and Small Business portfolio (Government) on 13 February 2019 and lapsed at dissolution on 11 April 2019.

 

 

Fair Work Amendment (Restoring Penalty Rates) Bill 2018

In summary, this provides that awards can’t be varied to reduce the take-home pay of an employee. This includes any reduction in take-home pay as a result of a reduction in penalty rates or the hours to which penalty rates apply.

And, penalty rates to be restored to the level they were at as of 30 June 2017, reversing determinations arising from the Fair Work Commission with regards to various modern awards, such as the Hospitality, Fast Food, Retail, Restaurant and Pharmacy Awards.

For context, this was introduced into parliament by Bill Shorten MP (private member) on 25 June 2018 and lapsed at dissolution on 11 April 2019.

 

Social security

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Maintaining Income Thresholds) Bill 2018

In summary, this provides that the current pause on the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) and Parental Leave Pay (PLP) and Dad and Partner Pay (DAPP) will continue.

The FTB gross supplements (Part A and Part B), FTB higher income free area (Part A), and the FTB primary earner income limit (Part B) are not to be indexed on 1 July 2018, 1 July 2019 and 1 July 2020. And, the PLP and DAPP income limit will not be subject to indexation until 1 July 2021.

For context, this was introduced into parliament by the Social Services portfolio (Government) on 10 May 2018 and lapsed at dissolution on 11 April 2019.

 

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Overseas Welfare Recipients Integrity Program) Bill 2019

In summary, this requires a person to provide a proof of life certificate at least once every two years if:

  • the person has reached 80 years of age, and
  • the person is receiving the age pension, carer payment, disability support pension, widow B pension, and wife pension, and
  • the person was continuously absent from Australia throughout the previous 2 years

For context, this was introduced into parliament by the Social Services portfolio (Government) on 13 February 2019 and lapsed at dissolution on 11 April 2019.

 

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Payment Integrity) Bill 2017

In summary, this amends the residency requirements for the age pension and the disability support pension by changing certain timeframes which need to be met before claims will be deemed payable to eligible recipients. The enhanced residency requirements are as follows:

  • 15 years of continuous Australian residence, or
  • 10 years of continuous Australian residence, with at least five years of this during their Australian working life (i.e. between age 16 and pension age), or
  • 10 years of continuous Australian residence, and not have been an activity tested income support payment recipient for a five-year cumulative period

This also, for example, ceases payment of the pension supplement after six weeks temporary absence overseas and immediately for permanent departures.

For context, this was introduced into parliament by the Social Services portfolio (Government) on 21 June 2018 and lapsed at dissolution on 11 April 2019.

 

Superannuation

Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Members’ Interests First) Bill 2019

In summary, this prevents trustees from providing insurance on an opt-out basis to MySuper or choice product members on or after 1 October 2019 when:

  • the member is under the age of 25 and begins to hold the product on or after 1 October 2019, and
  • the balance of the product is <$6,000 and has not been $6,000 or more on or after 1 July 2019

Importantly, where a member meets one of the above mentioned criteria, the trustee may only provide insurance where the member elects to obtain or maintain the insurance cover.

Please note: This does not apply to self-managed superannuation funds or small Australian Prudential Regulation Authority funds.

For context, this was introduced into parliament by the Treasury portfolio (Government) on 20 February 2019 and lapsed at dissolution on 11 April 2019.

 

Click here for part two of our two-part series where we look at Bills that managed to scrape through and become Acts (legislation) before the dissolution of parliament.

If you have any questions regarding this article, then please do not hesitate to contact us.