Employment Law Update
Happy New Financial Year! Every year, July 1 sees a raft of changes in the Employment Law arena, and this year is no different. Here are the key ones you need to consider:
1. National Minimum Wage
In May this year, the Fair Work Commission decided to increase the minimum wage for those employees not covered by an award or enterprise agreement by 3%. This saw the minimum wage increase to $740.80 per week or $19.49 per hour (for full time employees) and $24.36 for casual adult employees. This increase applies from the first full pay period commencing on or after 1 July 2019.
2. Minimum Wage in Modern Awards
For employees covered by a Modern Award, from 1 July 2019 the award rates will also increase by 3%. You should consult the relevant pay guide for the applicable modern award to ensure that your employees, or you, are being paid the correct rate.
3. High Income Threshold
From 1 July 2019, the high-income threshold increased from $145,400 to $148,100 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 $74,450 (ie: 26 weeks).
4.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 2019 onwards. The sheet is available from the Fair Work website: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/employee-entitlements/national-employment-standards/fair-work-information-statement
5. Penalty rate changes
The latest installment of the Fair Work Commission’s amendments to penalty rates as been rolled out. As of 1 July 2019, certain penalty rates in the Retail Award, Pharmacy Award, Hospitality Award and Fast Food Award have dropped by another 10% to 15%. If you operate in this industry, you should consider your applicable Award to see the new rates.
6. Single Touch Payroll
Single Touch Payroll (STP) is a system for employers to report employee payments to the ATO at the time the payments are made. This report covers wages, salaries, allowances, PAYG withholding tax, superannuation and other deductions. On 1 July 2019, STP became mandatory for all employers, as previously it was only employers with 20 or more employees who had to comply. Employers with 19 or fewer employees are to start reporting utilizing STP as soon as possible after 1 July 2019, and no later than 30 September 2019. Employers should check that their payroll software is STP compliant. Also if an employer is regarded as a “micro employer” (with 1-4 employees) then many accounting software companies are providing no or low-cost STP options. For more information go to: https://www.ato.gov.au/Business/Bus/Single-Touch-Payroll-for-small-employers-factsheet/
Finally, employees should also ensure that they have a MyGov account so that they can log in and check the information that their employer has submitted to the ATO.
If you need assistance in relation to employment law matters, please give Jenkins Legal Services a call on 02 4929 2000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.