Managing people

Victorian Employment Legislation

The federal IR system applies to most Australian employers and their employees, including those in Victoria.

The federal industrial relations system applies to most Australian employers and their employees, including those in Victoria. The Fair Work Act 2009 covers employers who are ‘constitutional corporations’ (in other words, an incorporated commercial trading business) and employers which are ‘referred’ under federal industrial relations coverage by state legislation.

Victoria handed over its general industrial relations powers to the federal jurisdiction in the early 1990s and all employees in that state continue to be part of the federal industrial relations system.

National system employers include both trading corporations and unincorporated businesses that are subject to state referral.

Legislation regarding employment in Victoria

The following Acts relate to matters of industrial relations within the state of Victoria:

Long Service Leave Act 2018

This Act establishes a minimum entitlement of long service leave for employees after seven years of continuous service. An employee is entitled to receive their ordinary pay while on leave.

The Act applies to all employees in Victoria, except those covered by another Act, federal award, certified or individual agreement that provides increased long service leave entitlements. 

Outworkers (Improved Protection) Act 2003

This Act aims to ensure protection and fairness for outworkers in the clothing industry in Victoria. The Act increases the entitlements of outworkers and provides a simple low-cost process to recover money owing.

The Act also establishes the Ethical Clothing Trades Council of Victoria, which includes representatives from retailers, manufacturers, unions and the community. The Council promotes self-regulation in the industry through voluntary codes of practice to ensure that outworkers receive their entitlements.

Child Employment Act 2003

This Act sets out general limitations relating to the employment of children, including the minimum age of employment and the number of hours worked.

The Act provides a system of permits to allow the employment of children under the age of 15. Children under the age of 15 can work in family businesses without a permit. The Act also prohibits some types of employment.

The Act aims to ensure that work does not adversely affect a child's education, and that the health safety and moral welfare of children at work is protected.

Construction Industry Long Service Leave Act 1997

Employers are generally obliged by federal awards and the Long Service Leave Act 1992 to provide long service leave; employers in the building industry are subject to special regulations. The Construction Industry Long Service Leave Act 1997 provides for portable long service leave for construction industry workers. The scheme is administered by CoInvest Limited on behalf of the construction industry.

Under the fund rules workers can have a break of four years instead of two from the construction industry while retaining previous service credits.

Equal Opportunity Act 2010

Direct and indirect discrimination based on the following attributes is prohibited:

  • age
  • breastfeeding
  • employment activity
  • gender identity
  • disability
  • industrial activity
  • lawful sexual activity
  • marital status
  • parental status or status as a carer
  • physical features
  • political belief or activity
  • pregnancy
  • race, religious belief or activity
  • sex, sexual orientation, personal association (whether as a relative or otherwise) with a person who is identified by reference to any of the above attributes.

The Act includes a duty to take positive action to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation.

Discrimination is prohibited in employment, employment-related areas, education, the provision of goods and services and disposal of land, accommodation, by clubs and club members, in sport and in local government. Specific exceptions apply in each of these areas.

Sexual harassment is specifically prohibited in Part 6 of the Act.

This legislation operates alongside federal EEO/anti-discrimination legislation, but a remedy in any case may be pursued through either the state or federal system and not concurrently.

Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013

The Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (WIRC Act) addresses what happens when a Victorian worker is injured or killed.

It covers:

  • insurance
  • workers compensation
  • claims
  • rehabilitation
  • return to work
  • dispute resolution.

Public Holidays Act 1993

The purpose of this Act is to set out minimum requirements regarding public holidays in Victoria.

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