LHD News

New Regulated Worker Functions

By LHD Lawyers

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) in Australia is rolling out new regulated worker functions for regulated workers in 2024. This article will briefly explain each change, how to know if you’re a regulated worker, and when these updated functions will go into effect.

Who are regulated workers?

A regulated worker in Australia can fall into one of three categories: 

  • An employee-like worker who works on a digital platform (e.g., Airtasker, Fiverr, or Uber). They perform the same amount of work for a company as a normal employee, hence their title.
  • Regulated road transport contractors
  • Road transport employee-like worker

In a nutshell, the above categories refer to people in the digital gig economy and road transport, who are not officially employed by any one company but are instead regarded as independent contractors. As such, they may also have their own Australian Business Number (ABN). 

There are a few requirements that a worker must meet to qualify as employee-like. Those are listed in the table below:

Requirement Employee-like Worker Road Transport Employee-like Worker Regulated Road Transport Contractor
 Must be a party to a services contract. Yes Yes Yes
 Performs all or a significant majority of the work under the services contract. Yes Yes Yes
 Must not be an employee. Yes Yes Yes
 Must perform digital platform work. Yes Yes
 Must possess two or more of these sub-requirements:

  • Low bargaining power
  • Payment at or below the rate of an employee performing similar work
  • Low degree of authority
Yes Yes
 Operating in one of the following industries related to Road Transport:

  • Road transport and distribution
  • Long-distance operation in private road transport
  • Waste management
  • Cash in transit
  • Passenger vehicle transportation (excl. electric tramway, monorail, or light rail)
Yes Yes
 Is not an employee-like worker Yes

What are the new regulated worker functions?

As the table in the previous section outlines, despite not being regular employees, employee-like workers and contractors are often given a workload equivalent to that of a regular employee. The problem is they’re given comparatively low pay and no benefits in compensation. This not only puts them at a financial disadvantage, but it also creates a bargaining power imbalance between them and the platforms, companies, or organisations they work for.

For that and other reasons, Parliament passed an amendment to the Fair Work Act called the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 at the end of 2023. The amendment provides the following new functions for the FWC, which are designed to “close loopholes” that previously allowed companies and digital platforms to deny independent contractors the pay and benefits they deserve for their labour.

  • Set minimum standards, orders, and guidelines for regulated workers (including minimum wages, health insurance, penalty rates, and superannuation).
  • Create road transport contractual chain orders and guidelines for regulated road transport contractors and employee-like road transport workers.
  • Register collective agreements between regulated businesses and regulated employee organisations.
  • Resolve disputes about unfair deactivations from digital platforms and unfair termination of contracts by road transport businesses.

The new regulated worker functions go into effect 26 August 2024. 

Contact LHD for more information

If you want to learn more about any of the new regulated workwear functions, contact LHD’s personal injury lawyers to answer any questions! Call 1800 455 725 today.

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