Change to Secure Local Job Code – what does it mean?

Emily Shoemark

25 Sep 2020

Topics

  • Building & Construction
  • Business Law
  • Employment Law

In the ACT, in order for businesses to be able to provide certain services to the ACT Government, they must obtain certification under the Secure Local Jobs Code (“the Code”). This means that they have gone through an process which includes a compliance audit to demonstrate that the business meets the highest ethical and labour standards. Further information about the scheme can be found here

Snedden Hall & Gallop are approved auditors under the. Businesses can elect for us to assist with their Secure Local Jobs (SLJ) certification by undertaking the audit required as part of the process.

On 10 September 2020 the Code was amended to provide some clarification about the requirements, but also to add some additional compliance requirements for those businesses with SLJ certificates (referred to as “Code Certified Entities”). A copy of the updated Code can be found here Government Procurement (Secure Local Jobs) Code 2020.

These changes are outline below:

Recognition of the Right to Collectively Bargain

One of the biggest changes that has been made to the Code is to section 15. This new obligation requires all Code Certified Entities to make their employees aware of their right to collectively bargain (as contained in the Fair Work Act.

The Code now sets out the expectation of compliance with section 15, stating that the registrar will be satisfied of compliance with this obligation if the Code Certified Entity gives a written declaration that the Entity has invited[1], its employees and representatives of Eligible Unions to attend a meeting, at the meeting, made employees aware of the matters in the above obligation or allowed representatives of an Eligible Union to do so and any meeting held must take place in paid time for the employees.

What does this mean for you?

You must have provided evidence of the opportunity for employees and union representatives to collectively bargain for a proposed enterprise agreement.

Application for Code Certification

Section 17 of the Code has been amended to state that for an SLJ certificate to be issued the applicant must have satisfactory history of compliance with the commitments contained in its labour relations, training and workplace equity plans (if any); and the applicant has a satisfactory history of compliance with any conditions on its secure local jobs code certificate.

What does this mean for you?

This section is only applicable for those entities that are required to have an equity plan under the Code, or have had specific conditions noted on their SLJ Certificate. Those entities will need to be able to show compliance with that plan and/or the conditions when applying for renewal of their certificate.

Change to definition of Associated Entities

As part of the certification process, businesses are required to identify any associated entities and confirm that there have been no compliance issues with both the organisation making the application, and any of its associated entities.

“Associated Entities” are now referred to in the Code as “Related Entities”. The Code now defines a related entity as a second entity that is an associate of the applicant by application of Section 50 AAA of the Corporations Act 2001 and/or where the director(s) of the applicant is a director of another currently registered or unregistered company (if was registered five years prior to application).

What does this mean for you?

The requirements of disclosure for businesses applying for an SLJ certificate are now clearer with this new definition. If you are a director for other companies, then those companies are considered a related entity in addition to other companies who may have shared ownership.

Requests for Information

The Code now makes it a requirement that if the Registrar for Secure Local Jobs makes a request of a Code Certified Entity to confirm its compliance with the Code, the entity must provide the registrar with a declaration regarding the entity’s compliance with the Code within 5 working days.

What does this mean for you?

Code Certified Entities need to make sure that they are aware of and comply with the obligations of the Code. If an entity receives a request form the Registrar, it needs to ensure it response within 5 days.

Compliance with conditions

The Code now expressly states that Code Certified Entity must comply with any conditions on its Secure Local Jobs Code Certificate.

How can we help?

For any further information regarding Secure Local Job Codes, or to obtain an audit, please contact our Business Services team on 02 6285 8000 or by email.


[1] with a reasonable period of notice of the time and location of the meeting.