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New law directed to preventing corruption in the workplace

Submitted on Thursday, 12th October 2017

Amendments to the Fair Work Act addressing collusion between unions and employers detrimental to employees commenced operation on 11 September 2017. These changes were made in response to recommendations of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

The changes;

The new Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) will work in conjunction with police and the Fair Work Ombudsman which are directly responsible for ensuring there is compliance with these new laws.

A disclosable benefit for employers is a financial benefit received by an employer or associated entity as a consequence of a term of a proposed enterprise agreement.

Further an employer must not dishonestly give or cause to be given a benefit, where cash or in kind, to a union or union official with the intention of influencing them in the performance of their duties.  Further unions and their officials must not solicit the giving of such benefits. Legitimate benefits such as those for the benefit of employees are excluded. Penalties for breach include imprisonment and/or significant maximum penalties of up to $525,000.

While the changes have followed the Royal Commission into union corruption, the Victorian Chamber encourages its members to be vigilant and conscious of these issues and specifically during times of bargaining.  The Victorian Chamber is able to provide assistance to members about what steps might be taken to ensure there is compliance.

  • Make it an offence to give , receive or solicit a corrupting benefit
  • Make it an offence for employers to give and  unions to receive or solicit illegitimate cash or in kind payments
  • Require employers, employer organisations and unions that act as bargaining agents during enterprise bargaining to disclose certain financial benefits that may be derived from the proposed enterprise agreement. Employees must be given access to the disclosure document before they vote on an proposed agreement  

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