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What are General Protection under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)?

Sham contracting is a term used in the Fair Work Act 2009 that refers to situations where an employer presents an employment relationship as an independent contracting arrangement, even though it is not. This is done to avoid providing employees with certain entitlements and obligations under the Act, such as minimum wages, leave entitlements, and superannuation contributions.


The Act prohibits employers from engaging in sham contracting, as it is a form of exploitation that undermines the rights and protections afforded to employees under the law. The penalties for engaging in sham contracting are severe, with fines of up to $66,600 for corporations and $13,320 for individuals, as well as the requirement to repay any amounts owed to affected employees.

General Protection - Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
General Protection - Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)

To determine if an employment relationship is a sham contracting arrangement, the Act sets out several factors that must be considered. These factors include the level of control the employer has over the work performed, the degree of integration of the worker into the employer's business, and the extent to which the worker operates independently.


Employers who are found to have engaged in sham contracting may also face legal action from affected employees, who may seek compensation for lost wages and entitlements. In addition, employers who engage in sham contracting may damage their reputation and face negative publicity, which can have long-term consequences for their business.


It is essential for both employers and employees to be aware of the provisions surrounding sham contracting in the Fair Work Act 2009, as it is a serious breach of employment law. Employers should ensure that they are providing their employees with the correct entitlements and obligations under the Act, while employees who suspect they may have been subject to sham contracting should seek legal advice to understand their rights and options.


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