Most of the laws and regulations in the tradie industry are focused on helping you get home safely after work. And with good reason – statistics show you’re much more likely to get injured in your work as a tradie than working in an air-conditioned office job. But occasionally, the industry also gets some legal changes that help with getting better results in other areas of your business than just OH&S!
Here are just a few we’ve found that have taken effect recently that might be useful for anyone working in trades across different parts of Australia.
Fairer Payment Terms
At the outset, it’s worth mentioning that Australia is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to laws across the whole country. Each state and territory has the freedom to make its own regulations and enforce them as they see fit. But while some of these laws are state-specific, the hope is that the ones that work or gain widespread approval are adopted nationally.
One of the improvements for the industry has taken place in Queensland with the addition of the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017. This has seen the introduction of a new legal penalty for those who deliberately don’t pay their tradies on time. Previously, there was no avenue in the law for tradies who hadn’t been paid to seek penalties against subcontractors or clients who didn’t pay them. The new offence makes it illegal to avoid contractual obligations that might cause “significant financial loss” for tradies. For many in the industry, that is a hugely positive development.
Less Red Tape
In New South Wales, the state government is looking closely at proposals to change the type of licences required to engage in certain trades. The proposal is that some trades be exempt from the red tape and licensing restrictions required to operate. This could potentially cover jobs such as kitchen benchtop installation, painting, glazing, fencing, and paving.
One side of the debate is that these tradies would benefit from fewer costs and administrative burdens when it came to running these sorts of businesses, leaving them free to work more and worry less about paperwork. But the major concern from most is that the move could be a disadvantage for consumers and licensed tradies as more unskilled workers enter the trades, lowering overall quality and pay. Watch this space.
Good news for apprentices everywhere! Apprentice wages suck, and the cost of livings keeps on rising. So it’s good news that the national minimum wage for the entire country has risen, which has knock-on effects to the award and wages paid to apprentices and even labourers who are looking to get some practical experience on a job site before signing up to a trade.
It’s difficult to keep up with all of the law changes and regulations, no matter what trade you are in. That’s why a professional network just for tradies like goodwork can help you stay on top of things. Your peers are one of the best sources of information, tips, and sometimes even red flags, so it pays to be in touch with them regularly.