Release type: Media Release


Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill


The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for the Arts

The Albanese Labor Government will deliver more secure jobs, better pay and a fairer workplace relations system for Australian workers.
The Government will introduce legislation into Federal Parliament next week that will deliver on a range of commitments Labor made at the 2022 election and at the Jobs and Skills Summit.
The Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill is the first tranche of the Albanese Labor Government’s workplace relations reforms - designed to modernise Australia’s workplace relations system and get wages moving.
Australian workers have been doing it tough.
For a decade they had a government that deliberately kept their wages low and did nothing to close the loopholes that have made Australian jobs less secure. That has left people struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living has gone up.
The Albanese Labor Government is taking the opposite approach. We want to give workers a better deal and a brighter future.
These changes will bring the laws up to date with the needs of the modern workplace.
A key objective of this Bill will be to help close the gender pay gap.
Women should not be paid less than men – it’s that simple. That’s why gender pay equity will be at the centre of our workplace reforms.
We have made a deliberate decision to support workers in female-dominated professions who have been underpaid and undervalued for too long.
The Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill will:

  • Ban pay secrecy clauses so that companies cannot prohibit staff from talking about their pay if they want to. These clauses have long been used to conceal gender pay discrepancies. Banning them will improve transparency, reduce the risk of gender pay discrimination and empower women to ask their employers for pay rises.
  • Make gender equity a central objective of the Fair Work Act, including the modern award system – putting the issue at the heart of pay decisions made by the Fair Work Commission.
  • Establish two new Fair Work Commission Expert Panels, one on Pay Equity and one on the Care and Community Sector. One of the main causes of the gender pay gap is low pay and conditions in the female-dominated care sector. Care work is undervalued, underpaid, and increasingly insecure. This is making it hard to attract the new care workers we need - and to keep those already working in the sector in their jobs. These new panels will give the Fair Work Commission the specific expertise it needs to deliver pay equity.
  • Make it easier for the Fair Work Commission to order pay increases for workers in low-paid, female-dominated industries by putting in place a statutory Equal Remuneration Principle like that which exists in Queensland. Under the current federal system, equal remuneration orders are costly, time consuming, highly adversarial and overwhelmingly ineffective – since 1994 there has only been one successful equal pay order from 21 applications. The new principle will also clarify that gender-based assumptions must not be taken into account in assessing work value.

These measures add to legislation we have already introduced to establish 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave - so that women don’t have to choose between their safety and their pay.
The Government will announce further measures from the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill before its introduction later this month.