January 2013 Industry Update

Penalties for breaches of workplace relations law rise by 54.5 per cent

As of 28 December 2012, the maximum penalties for breaches of workplace relations laws, such as taking industrial action before the nominal expiry date of an enterprise agreement, coercion and right of entry breaches, will increase from $6600 to $10,200 for an individual and from $33,000 to $51,000 for a corporation.

The increased penalties apply to all other Commonwealth laws, not just the Fair Work Act 2009.

The change was facilitated by the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Serious Drugs, Identity Crime and Other Measures) Act 2012 which amends the definition of a ‘penalty unit’ under the Crimes Act 1914 from $110 to $170.

The 54.5 per cent increase in a penalty unit accommodates changes to the Consumer Price Index and is the first adjustment to the definition of a penalty unit since 1997. The increased penalty units apply to breaches of Commonwealth laws committed after 28 December 2012.

The definition of a penalty unit is to be reviewed every three years, under the Act.

Further information

Crimes Legislation Amendment (Serious Drugs, Identity Crime and Other Measures) Act 2012

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