Fair Work Wage Increases 2022

As of the 1st July 2022, Fair Work is increasing the national minimum wage to $21.38 per hour (up from $20.33) or $812.60 per week (up $40 from $772.60) based on a 38 hour week for a full time employee. This increase applies from an employee’s first full pay period starting on or after the 1st July 2022.

Casual employees who are entitled to the national minimum wage must receive a minimum of $26.73 per hour, which includes their 25% casual loading.

Employees who are covered by Awards will have their minimum wage rates increased by 4.6% ($40 per week based on a 38 hour week for a full time employee). This means the minimum wage rates above $869.60 per week will receive a 4.6% increase, and wage rates below $869.60 per week increase by $40 per week.

Other minimum award wages which include junior, apprentice and supported wages will get a proportionate increase.

Please contact us for more information on pay rates for your staff.

Covid19 Safety Plan

Do you have a Covid Safety Plan?

Covid is here and the Omicron variant is spreading through-out Perth, the metropolitan area and also in some WA rural communities. It is “When” rather than “IF” the Omicron variant will reach the same rates of community spread as those experienced in other states, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney and having a structured safety plan is now one (1) of the essential tools for working and living with Covid19.

Are you prepared with a plan and are the processes in place to keep your business open and working for you and your team, whilst meeting WA Government mandates and WA Health Department documentation requirements?

Let us help with your documentation preparation and Covid19 Safety Plan.

We will work with you and your team to implement a plan that meets your business needs and is compliant with the WA Government and WA Health Department Covid19 Guidelines.

We can also assist with answers to the various questions your staff might pose in relation to COVID19, for example:

• I think I am a close contact, so I have to get a PCR test – will I be paid for the time off work if I have to quarantine until I get the result?
• I’ve had a PCR test and its negative, but now I feel ill, what do I do?
• I have to isolate, can I claim sick leave for this time?
• Or, if you require a staff member to be tested, do you have to pay them for their time?

Contact us today and be Covid19 prepared and Safety Plan equipped.

The Great Resignation

Since March 2020, many employees have experienced lock downs which have prevented them from leaving their state, or the country, due to the impact of COVID-19. It has also resulted in many employees being fearful of leaving their existing job, which has meant employees have stayed in a position only for the security that it offered during the pandemic.

As Australia begins to open up over the next few months, employers should be mindful of the implications of this increased freedom.

Many employees are suffering from pandemic fatigue and the inability to spend time away from home or travelling is leading to employee burn out.

Understandably, many employees have been saving their annual leave for a big interstate or even overseas holiday when the borders open to reconnect with their loved ones. This has led to an increased annual leave liability for employers.

Once the borders open, it’s likely there will be an increase in annual leave requests. It is worthwhile doing some scenario planning around the impact this could have on your business and communicating any rules or requirements with employees ahead of time.

The best way to approach the allocation of annual leave post COVID-19 is to ensure employees have an opportunity to share their views. Employee responses should be considered before implementing a plan. The goal is to ensure that every worker gets an equal chance to put in a leave request and feel as though they have been given due consideration.

The consequences of refusing an annual leave request outright could result in the employee resigning rather than accepting their fate.

Any employer who has tried to recruit an employee recently will know that the talent pool is very small. The power has shifted dramatically in employees favour, and with increased freedom to move around the country once again, as well as the knowledge that there are an abundance of jobs out there to choose from, many employees will simply choose to resign.

It is already expected that Australia will follow suit behind the US and experience what has been dubbed “The Great Resignation”. As employees become free of the insecurity experienced over the last 18 months, many of those employees who stayed in their role despite wanting to move will now look to take action.

The pandemic has also encouraged many employees to reassess what is important to them in life, with employees looking to leave their position for greater work/life balance, or looking for more meaningful work in general.

To what degree The Great Resignation will occur in Australia is yet to be seen over the next few months, however we encourage all of our clients to start preparing for these scenarios now to make sure you are on the front foot.

We would encourage you to start having conversations with your staff to see what their thoughts are on taking annual leave once borders open up, and if there is anything they are seeking from their job and career going forward.

Having these conversations now will hopefully encourage employees to stay and minimise the impacts on the business.

If you require any further guidance or assistance, All4People can assist you with preparing a strategy and communications on how you will handle these matters once your state is open.

WA Vaccination Mandate

WA has issued a public health order for up to 75% of the state’s workforce to get the COVID vaccination. The mandate will affect up to 1.1 million workers in our state.

Most employers will be familiar with the mandate for Group One workers, such as hotel quarantine workers, residential aged care workers, and healthcare and health support workers. Workers in this group have staggered first dose and fully vaccinated deadline dates.

Group Two, which has been recently announced and sets WA aside as the toughest vaccine mandate in the country, includes a list of occupations that are deemed critical to the ongoing delivery of critical services to the community. Workers in this group are required to have their first dose by 31 December 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 31 January 2022. The list includes, but is not limited to, hospitality and tourism workers, childcare workers, teachers, taxi and ride-share drivers, and building and construction workers.

Employers who are found to be operating with workers in both groups, not vaccinated before the deadlines, face fines of up to $100,000. Individual employees face fines of up to $20,000.

Following the public health order for WA, it is lawful and reasonable for employers to direct their workers to get the COVID-19 vaccination. Therefore, if an employee in either of these groups refuses to get the vaccine before the deadline, employers will be able to take disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

All4People is here to help you gather the information whilst protecting the privacy of your staff, and to manage any workers refusing the get the vaccine in line with the public health order and state and federal employment legislation.

Please reach out if you need support by calling 6555 6550 or emailing on admin@all4people.com

Increase to Superannuation

The government has recently announced a proposed increase to the Superannuation Guarantee rate from 9.5% to 10% commencing from the 1st of July 2021.

The last increase to Superannuation occurred in 2014 when it was lifted to the current rate of 9.5% where it has stayed for the last 7 years until now.

Further increases have been proposed over the next 4 years to lift the Superannuation Guarantee rate to a final target of 12%, however it’s possible this timeline could be shifted depending on economic conditions and any parliamentary changes in the upcoming election.

For now, employers will need to ensure that all staff are paid the 10% Superannuation Guarantee from the first pay period after the 1st of July 2021.

For more information about these changes please contact All 4 People at admin@all4people.com

Minimum Wage Increase July 2019

What’s changing?

The Fair Work Commission has announced an increase to national minimum wages by 3% for the 2019/2020 Financial Year. This increase applies to the National Minimum wage as well as Modern Award minimum wages.

What date do these changes take effect?

The increase to minimum wages will take effect from your employee’s first pay period on or after the 1st of July 2019.

Who do these changes apply to?

The changes will apply to any National System Employer who is covered by the National Minimum wage and/or an applicable national Modern Award (generally PTY LTD companies).

It doesn’t apply to employers who are covered by the state system and state legislation (generally Partnerships and Sole Traders).

National System Employers who are covered by a Registered Agreement will still be subject to the national minimum wages as the base pay rate in the Registered Agreement can’t be less than the base pay rate in the relevant Modern Award or the National Minimum Wage. Where the rate provided for in a Registered Agreement falls below the national minimum wage or any applicable Modern Award minimum wage, then the higher rate will apply to these employees.

What do I need to do?

Employers should review the current pay rates of their existing employees prior to the first pay period in July and compare the current rates with the new rates provided by Fair Work. The new wage rates will normally be available from Fair work on or just before the 1st of July 2019.

If any of your employees are identified as being paid below the new national minimum wage or relevant Award minimum wage then you must ensure their wage rate is increased to, or above, the new minimum rate by their first pay period in July 2019.

If any of your employees are identified as already being paid above the new national minimum wage or relevant Award minimum wage, then no action will be required. You may wish to award these employees with a pay increase at this time based on CPI or on performance, however legally no action is required and these type of pay increases will be discretionary.

Additional Information

The new national minimum wage will be $19.49 per hour, however you may be covered by a Modern Award that provides for a higher minimum wage rate dependent upon your employee’s occupation or industry. Employers must ensure they comply with both the national minimum wage and any applicable Modern Award minimum wages which may provide for a higher rate.

Casual employees must be provided with the relevant minimum wage plus a 25% loading, or as otherwise outlined in the relevant award.

Please note this is general advice provided by the Fair Work Commission. If you would like any specific advice relating to your business and Modern Awards covering your staff, please get in contact with us at All 4 People by emailing janet@all4people.com

Modern Award Changes

What’s changing?

The Fair Work Commission has varied the Termination of Employment clause and Payment of Wages clause in a number of Awards as part of its Modern Award Review. The two changes that may affect staff members employed by you include:

• Employers are now required to pay an employee’s wages and all other entitlements, within 7 days of the end of their employment.

• An employer can now deduct up to 1 week’s wages if an employee over 18 years resigns without giving enough notice as required by law, (i.e. the Notice Periods outlined in the Modern Award). Employers cannot deduct wages from employees under the age of 18 for not giving notice.

 

What date do these changes take effect?

All changes apply from the first full pay period on or after 1 November 2018.

 

Who do these changes apply to?

The new entitlement applies to all employees (including Casual employees) who are covered by an applicable Modern Award which includes the new clauses.

It doesn’t apply to employees who are:

• covered by enterprise and other registered agreements
• covered by a Modern Award that does not include the relevant clauses
• Award free

 

What do I need to do?

Employers should review the Modern Award/s applicable to their staff to determine if the new clauses have been included.

If you have employees who are covered by a Modern Award containing the new clause under Payment of Wages you must ensure they are paid their final pay no later than 7 days after the day on which their employment terminates.

If you have employees who are covered by a Modern Award containing the new clause under Termination of Employment, and they are over 18 year of age, you now have the ability to withhold up to one week of pay where the employee does not provide the required period of notice.

Please note, the required period of notice is the period set out by law in the Modern Award, and not any additional period of notice that may be included in their contract of employment.

You may also wish to update your policy documents to ensure staff are aware of these changes.

 

Additional Information

The Fair Work Commission have indicated that the wording under the following clauses have also been varied:

• consultation about major workplace change
• consultation about changes to rosters or hours of work
• dispute resolution
• individual flexibility arrangements.

If your business is about to commence any major workplace change, i.e. Redundancies, or you are looking to initiate an Individual Flexibility Agreement with any staff member, we recommend accessing the most up to date copy of the Modern Award covering these staff to ensure that the process is in line with current legislation.

Please note this is general advice provided by the Fair Work Commission. If you would like any specific advice relating to Modern Awards covering your staff, or you would like additional assistance, please get in contact with us at All 4 People to conduct a review relating to your business.

Family and Domestic Violence Leave

What’s changing?

The Fair Work Commission have added a new clause to all industry and occupation awards to provide all employees covered by an Award with an entitlement to Family and Domestic Violence Leave which will be an additional form of unpaid leave entitlement.

Employees who are experiencing domestic violence will now be able to access 5 days of unpaid leave each year. The leave can be taken by employees to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence. This includes (but isn’t limited to) taking time to:

• make arrangements for their safety, or the safety of a family member
• attend court hearings
• access police services

Employees are entitled to the full 5 days from the day they start work – they don’t have to build it up over time. The 5 days renews each 12 months but doesn’t accumulate from year to year if it isn’t used.

The leave doesn’t need to be taken all at once and can be taken as single or multiple days.

 

What date do these changes take effect?

From the first full pay period on or after 1 August 2018.

 

Who do these changes apply to?

The new entitlement applies to all employees (including Casual employees) who are covered by an industry or occupation award.

It doesn’t apply to employees who are:

• covered by Enterprise awards
• covered by State reference public sector awards
• covered by enterprise and other registered agreements
• Award and agreement free

 

What do I need to do?

If you have employees who are covered by an Award containing the new leave provision, you must ensure you allow employees to access this leave entitlement.

You may wish to include this provision in your policy documents to ensure staff are aware of what their entitlement is as well as their obligations in accessing this leave.

You must also take reasonably practicable steps to keep any information about an employee’s situation confidential.

 

Additional Information

Family and domestic violence means violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s family member that:

• seeks to coerce or control the employee
• causes them harm or fear.

A family member includes:

• an employee’s:

 spouse or former spouse
 de facto partner or former de facto partner
 child
 parent
 grandparent
 grandchild
 sibling

• an employee’s current or former spouse or de facto partner’s child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling, or
• a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules

Employees can take the leave if they need to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence and it’s impractical to do so outside their ordinary hours of work.

An employer can ask their employee for evidence that shows the employee took the leave to deal with family and domestic violence. If the employee doesn’t provide the requested evidence, they may not get family and domestic violence leave.

The evidence has to convince a reasonable person that the employee took the leave to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence.

Types of evidence can include:

• documents issued by the police service
• documents issued by a court
• family violence support service documents, or
• a statutory declaration

Employers can ask employees to provide evidence for as little as 1 day or less off work.

Single Touch Payroll

What is Single Touch Payroll?

You might have heard that the Australian government has introduced new Single Touch Payroll legislation, but what does that mean? Essentially the government is seeking to streamline and modernise the reporting process for employee payroll by creating an electronic reporting connection directly with the payroll software systems of employers. This will allow the ATO to see payroll records including wages payments, PAYG, and Superannuation in real time from employers. Shifting to this new system will also reduce the paperwork and reporting burden on employers by allowing the ATO to collect information straight from your payroll software.

When do I need to be ready?

The new system will come into effect from 1st July 2018 for employers with 20 or more employees, and from 1st July 2019 for employers with less than 20 employees. You will need to conduct a headcount of your staff on the 1st of April 2018 to determine when you will need to commence Single Touch Payroll reporting. While all employers must be ready for single touch payroll by July 2019, those with less than 20 employees may still join earlier if they wish.

So what do you need to do to get ready?

If you are already using an electronic payroll software solution, then in most cases you won’t need to do much to get ready as your payroll software provider should be updating their systems to meet the ATO’s requirements for Single Touch Payroll. This should apply to most of the major software providers, however if you are unsure, it is recommended you contact your provider to ensure they will have their systems upgraded in time should you need to report from the 1st of July 2018.

If you are currently running a manual payroll system, such as a paper based system or your own excel spreadsheet for example, then you will need to switch to a payroll software provider. It will not be possible to comply with the ATO’s requirements without a payroll software provider who can facilitate Single Touch Payroll. The good news is that there are a number of providers in the market who can offer different solutions, so it is recommended you do your research on what they can offer and at what price to find the solution that best fits your business.

For all employers it also means that once Single Touch Payroll comes into effect, you will need to ensure you are complying with legislative requirements as the ATO will have much greater visibility of your payroll records. For example, this will mean they will have better visibility should you pay your Superannuation obligations late, so it is recommended that employers put systems in place to make sure Superannuation payments are made on time.

For further information about Single Touch Payroll please see the following information provided by the ATO – https://www.ato.gov.au/about-ato/about-us/in-detail/strategic-direction/streamlined-reporting-with-single-touch-payroll/?anchor=Employers1

Migration Amendment Bill Receives Royal Assent

In September this year we published a blog post titled – Proposed Legislation Outlaws Payment for Visas. This blog post discussed proposed legislation that was introduced to the House of Representatives for the purpose of introducing fines and imprisonment for employers who accept payment from employees to achieve a migration outcome.

We can confirm that the Migration Amendment (Charging for a Migration Outcome) Bill 2015 has received Royal Assent and is now in place.

The new Act will amend the Migration Act 1958 to establish a criminal and civil penalty regime to make it unlawful for a person to give or receive a benefit in return for a migration outcome in relation to certain skilled work visa programs. It also enables visa cancellation to be considered where the visa holder has engaged in such conduct.

Fines and civil penalties can include a maximum of 2 years imprisonment and fines up to $64,000 for an individual person or up to $324,000 for a body corporate.

For more information on the new Amendment Act please visit – https://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2015B00155/Download

All 4 People Migration can provide advice and assistance to ensure that your visa is handled professionally and does not breach any legislation.

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