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  • Sally Davies

1 JULY 2020 CHANGES TO EMPLOYEE ENTITLEMENTS

1 July always sees a flurry of changes in the employment law sector, and this year is no different. A summary of the most significant changes are as follows: -

A. Increase to National Minimum Wage

For employees who are not covered by an award or an agreement, from 1 July 2020, the new National Minimum Wage has increased to $19.84 per hour (up from $19.49), or $753.80 per week (up from $740.80).

B. Award rates in Modern Awards

For employees that are covered by an award, the changes to the award rates will occur in 3 groups, each with a different commencement date. The changes to the Group 1 awards– which includes: Frontline Heath Care & Social Assistance Workers, Teachers and Child Care and Other Essential Services – commenced on 1 July 2020.

To see what Awards fall within each group, please click on the following link:

https://www.fairwork.gov.au/about-us/news-and-media-releases/website-news/the-commission-has-announced-a-1-75-increase-to-minimum-wages

Changes to Group 2 Awards will be effective from 1 November 2020, and changes to Group 3 Awards will be effective from 1 February 2021.

C. Changes to awards

From 1 July 2020, there will be varying changes to each of the following awards:

1. Social and Community Services Award;

2. Aged Care Award;

3. Building and Construction Award;

4. Joinery Award;

5. Mobile Crane Award; and

6. Miscellaneous Award.

The changes vary from award to award, and include amendments to the calculation of casual rates, adding different shifts, and introducing time off instead of payment for overtime. You can access the full list of changes to each award at the following link: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/about-us/news-and-media-releases/website-news/modern-award-review-changes-to-some-awards-from-1-july

D. Changes to the Parental Leave Scheme

Eligible employees, from 1 July 2020, can now split and take their Parental Leave Payments (PLP) over two different intervals within a 2 year period, being:

  • A Set Period: this is a block of 12 weeks, which must be taken within 12 months of the birth/adoption of a child, and has to be taken in one go; and

  • A Flexible Period, which:

- is up to 30 days in duration;

- generally starts after the Set Period has concluded;

- can be taken in tranches of time as agreed between the employee and employer; and

- must be used within 24 months of the birth or adoption of a child.

E. Increase to High Income Threshold

From 1 July 2020, the high-income threshold increased from $148,700 to $153,600 per annum. This means that employees earning above this threshold who are not covered by an award or enterprise agreement cannot file an unfair dismissal application. This change also means that the maximum compensation that an employee can receive in an unfair dismissal application is $76,800 (ie: 26 weeks).

F. Fair Work Information Statement

An updated information statement has been released by Fair Work. This statement needs to be provided to all new employees from 1 July 2020 onwards. The sheet is available from the Fair Work website: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/employee-entitlements/national-employment-standards/fair-work-information-statement

If you need assistance in relation to employment law matters, please give Jenkins Legal Services a call on 02 4929 2000 or email office@jenkinslegal.com.au.

This article is not legal advice and the views and comments are of a general nature only. This article is not to be relied upon in substitution for detailed legal advice.



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