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What is Same Job Same Pay?

In Australia, some large employers including many mining companies pay labour hire workers less than permanent workers for doing the same job. This is due to a legal loophole allowing employers to avoid paying agreed rates by outsourcing work to labour hire contractors.

There is a legitimate role for labour hire to cover genuine work surges, short-term needs or specialist services. However, it has become a common business model for some employers to replace permanent, on-going jobs with labour hire, simply to cut wages.

This occurs in industries across the economy, but mining is a glaring example because it is so widespread; and because the difference in pay between permanent and labour hire employees performing the same work is often so substantial.

The Same Job Same Pay policy is about closing the legal loopholes that allow employers to pay labour hire workers less; by ensuring that labour hire workers are paid at rates at least equivalent to host site Enterprise Agreements.

Large companies have used labour hire loopholes in Australia to pay some of their workforce less for doing the exact same job.

This has held workers’ wages and conditions back while corporate profits have grown.

Same Job Same Pay for labour hire workers will close the loophole and help wages rise.

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About the Closing Loopholes Bill

The Albanese Government is addressing this rort with Same Job Same Pay (SJSP) provisions within a suite of changes to workplace laws. These changes are covered by the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023, which is currently before the federal Parliament.

Under these changes, workers and their Unions could apply to the Fair Work Commission for ‘Same Job Same Pay’ orders if labour hire workers were being paid less than direct employees covered by an Enterprise Agreement, for the same work.

Along with closing labour hire loopholes, the Bill will include a fair definition of ‘casual’ work to ensure that casuals in long-term, on-going roles can access entitlements; and improving rights for gig economy workers.

These changes have strong support from unions, who have seen firsthand the misuse of labour hire and casualisation in some of Australia’s biggest and most profitable companies. As well as restoring rights to workers, the new laws will level the playing field for businesses already doing the right thing.

The SJSP bill is opposed by large mining companies and the Minerals Council; they argue that the policy will increase their costs and make it more difficult for them to compete.

Same Job Same Pay will only increase the wages bills of those companies who have used labour hire loopholes to cut wages and undermine collective bargaining. Mining company claims that it would remove incentives and rewards for workers with more skills and experience are nonsense.

Why this is important

SJSP is not about putting a ceiling on how much workers can be paid, it’s about strengthening the floor; ensuring that labour hire workers are not used to undercut wages achieved through bargaining.

SJSP only targets circumstances where an external workforce is engaged to perform the same work as direct employees for less money, undermining industry standard wage rates established through collective bargaining.

Please browse our site to read more facts about SJSP, and click here to read about its history and legislative solution.

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