Owner-driver updated laws now in force
From 1 June 2023 updated owner-driver laws come into effect in WA. The amendments will help improve business dealings between heavy vehicle owner-drivers and hirers.†
The amendments to the Act will better support safe and sustainable operations across the Stateís road-freight transport industry and were developed in consultation with the Road Freight Transport Industry Council and the Road Freight Transport Industry Tribunal.
The key changes to the Owner-Drivers (Contracts and Disputes) Act 2007 in effect from 1 June 2023 are described below.
A 90-day minimum notice period for termination of a contract of 90 days or more and a seven-day minimum notice period for contracts less than 90 days.
- An important change is that should the aggregate term of the original contract and any consecutive series of contracts between the same parties that contain substantially similar terms and conditions add up to 90 days or more, the 90 day minimum notice period applies.
- This will give owner-drivers more job security and allow both owner-drivers and hirers more time to adjust to change.
- The Act provides for payment to be made in lieu of notice. For example, if the termination of the contract is to take effect immediately, the payment in lieu amount would be calculated as the total amount that would be payable under the contract in respect of the applicable minimum notice period, less 25%.
- Non-compliance to owner-driver guideline pay rates will be factored into dispute resolution decisions made by the Road Freight Transport Industry Tribunal.
- This change places more responsibility on hirers to offer fair pay for owner-driver services.
- The amendments to the Act make it clear that owner-driver contracts that are within 12 months of expiry can be referred to the Tribunal for dispute resolution.
- It also makes it clear that when owner-drivers and hirers are negotiating contracts, they must not engage in misleading or deceptive conduct, or discriminatory behaviour.
- The Act provides better guidance to the Tribunal as to what terms of an owner driver contract may be unfair.
- These amendments will help enforce appropriate industry standards of behaviour and better equip the Tribunal to deliver just and efficient outcomes when resolving disputes.
Workplace right of entry provisions have been updated to allow an owner-driverís representative to enter a workplace to investigate suspected breaches of the Act and are consistent with current WA industrial relations laws.
The updates set out defined processes for authorising, suspending and revoking the right of entry authority and will help inform the Tribunalís dispute resolution processes.