National Minimum Wage Rise

National Minimum Wage rise effective 1 July

The Fair Work Commission has announced this year’s Annual Wage Review Decision

National Minimum Wage Increase 

Effective from 1 July 2024, the National Minimum Wage will increase by 3.75%.

This means that full-time or part-time employees in receipt of the minimum wage will receive the following rates before tax:

  • $24.10 per hour, and
  • $915.90 per week (based on a 38-hour week for a full-time employee).

This increase will see an extra $33.10 ‘in the pocket’ each week for full-time employees.

This will be effective from the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2024.  For example if your pay period starts on Wednesday, the new rates will apply from Wednesday 3 July 2024.

National Minimum Wage Increase 

Similar to the National Minium Wage increase, all Modern Award minimum rates of pay will also increase by 3.75% on 1 July 2024. 

Most employees are covered by an award, which outlines the minimum pay rates and conditions in various industries and occupations.

If you need assistance determining which award applies to your employees, or the applicable minimum pay rates, please do not hesitate to Contact us.

Changes to Superannuation from 1 July 2024

As a reminder, the super guarantee rate will again rise from 1 July 2024. This will rise by another half percent, taking the minimum super guarantee from 11% to 11.5%.

The super guarantee rate will continue to rise by an additional 0.5% at the start of each financial year, until it reaches 12% in 2025.

Contact Us

At Allan Hall HR, we have a team of experienced HR consultants. To learn more about our services, please click here. Alternatively, please feel free to call us on 1300 916 764 or contact us here to discuss any questions you may have with us in regard to the National Minimum Wage Increase.

payroll

Small Business Superannuation Clearing House Changes

Actionable Update to SMSF Bank Account Validation

ATO update introduces SMSF bank account validation aimed at improving the precision and security of superannuation contributions

Given the proximity of the next SG contribution deadline on 28 April 2024, it is important to take action ahead of this date to prevent potential compliance issues.

Key points

  • The ATO implemented a pivotal update within the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (SBSCH) on 15 March 2024
  • This new system feature affects all small employers who use the SBSCH to pay superannuation to employee SMSFs
  • The ATO’s validation process requires small employers using the SBSCH to ensure perfect alignment between their employees’ SMSF bank account details and the corresponding fund bank account details recorded by the ATO
  • The validation focuses on the BSB and account number as registered under the SMSF’s Superannuation Role within ATO systems. For any employee where there is no exact match, the SBSCH will not process their superannuation payment.

Action Required: Review Employee Records

The ATO is contacting small employers likely to be impacted by the new SBSCH SMSF bank account validation process.

However, with SG obligations for the March 2024 quarter due no later than 28 April 2024, it is important for small businesses to act proactively.

If you are a small business using the SBSCH, it is important that you contact your employees to confirm that the SMSF bank account they pay superannuation contributions to, is the same as the SMSF bank account registered against the superannuation role with the ATO.

Where employees are unsure how to check if the bank account their employer makes super contributions to is the same as the one registered with the ATO, please contact Allan Hall for assistance on 02 9981 2300.

Should there be a need for an employee to amend SMSF bank details held by the ATO, it is crucial to communicate these changes to all fund members as the ATO will issue email or text alerts to ensure all fund members are informed.

Small employers delaying the review and update of their employees’ SMSF bank records risk facing SG shortfalls and potential penalties as there may be insufficient time to rectify a discrepancy.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL ACCOUNTANTS & BUSINESS ADVISORS

Workplace Gender Equality Agency Reporting

Workplace Gender Equality Agency Reporting

WGEA Reporting or Pay Secrecy

Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has published the 2022-2023 median gender pay gaps for private sector businesses with 100 or more employees, encompassing both base salary and total remuneration.

Some notable findings include:

  • 30% of employers have a median gender pay gap between the target range of -5% and +5%
  • 62% of median employer gender pay gaps are over 5% and in favour of men
  • The remaining (8%) are less than -5% and in favour of women
  • Across all employers, 50% have a gender pay gap of over 9.1%. 

The above findings suggest that there is still a large gap between gender pay equality with only 30% of businesses within the target range. This is largely demonstrated by the statistic that 62% of employers are currently paying men over 5% more than women across the business. 

Who needs to complete an annual WGEA report?

All private sector businesses with 100 or more employees are required to complete their WGEA report between 1 April and 31 May of each year. The report must provide data from the previous year for the date ranges of 1 April through to 31 March. 

For more information about who needs to report and how to complete the WGEA report, please click:

Even if your company has fewer than 100 employees, it is important to be proactive in identifying potential inequalities within the workplace. Conducting a payroll audit and internal salary benchmarking are important steps to take. 

How does pay secrecy impact gender pay inequality? 

Pay secrecy can play a big part when it comes to gender inequality in the workplace. Pay secrecy, where employees are prohibited from discussing their pay, hampers transparency and can conceal gender-based pay disparities. For this reason, changes have been made from 7 December 2022 to remove the permittance of pay secrecy clauses within contractual agreements. This change aims to advocate for transparency in pay practices to ensure that all employees, regardless of gender, are fairly compensated for their work. 

Need HR Assistance?

At Allan Hall HR, we have a team of experienced HR consultants. To learn more about our services, please click here. Alternatively, please feel free to call us on 1300 916 764 or contact us to discuss any questions you may have in regard to WGEA Reporting or Pay Secrecy.

businesswoman

Considering Redundancies in your business?

Recent research has found that almost a third of employers intended to make staff redundancies.

Australian HR Institute’s quarterly Australian Work Outlook survey indicated that redundancy intentions have risen sharply to 31% in the December 2023 quarter, up from 17% in the September 2023 quarter.

In correlation with this research, our consultants at Allan Hall HR have recently been experiencing daily calls from clients requesting support and advice on employee redundancies. 

If you are one of these employers considering redundancies in your business, we have outlined below the key components for you to consider. We also highly encourage you to seek professional guidance to help navigate a smooth and legally compliant redundancy process.

Regardless of whether your employees are award covered or not, redundancy terminations are highly complex, and the specific circumstances of each case must always be considered. There are several rules that apply and steps you should take when managing a redundancy to ensure compliance and reduce your risk of receiving a claim (such as an unfair dismissal claim). 

Redundancy Considerations

If you are planning to make an employee redundant, it is important for you to ensure that:  

  • You have taken steps to ensure you no longer require the person’s role to be performed by anyone 
  • All reasonable attempts have been made to find suitable alternative employment within the business for the employee
  • You have considered and complied with any applicable modern award obligations
  • You have undergone a consultation process which is best practice and a requirement under some awards  
  • You have prepared for, documented and communicated the redundancy process thoroughly
  • You pay the employee correctly according to their redundancy entitlements under the National Employment Standards, calculated with reference to their period of continuous service

Allan Hall HR’s Redundancy and Advice Package

At Allan Hall HR we have developed a Redundancy and Advice package which provides employers with an assortment of tools and resources to assist with undertaking a legally compliant redundancy process. The pack includes: 

  • Letter of Notice to the Employee (regarding proposed workplace changes and an invitation to a consulting meeting)
  • Guidance on Consultation Steps and Meeting Discussion Points
  • Redundancy Checklist and Consultation Record
  • Communication Strategies
  • Termination Letter due to Genuine Redundancy. 

If you wish to purchase our Redundancy and Advice Package, please click here We are also able to manage all or part of the redundancy process for you, according to your preference. 

Need Assistance?

Before you consider terminating an employee on the basis of redundancy, we encourage you to call us on 1300 675 393 or contact us here.  To learn more about our HR services, please click here.

Compliance cogs

Steps to Prepare for New Fixed Term Contract Rules

From 6 December 2023 there have been substantial changes in the usage of fixed term contracts.

What are the New Rules?

There are new rules for fixed term contracts that are designed to regulate employment duration and extensions. These changes will bring about a significant shift in how employers engage workers on a fixed term contractual basis.

The main changes encompass three key areas:

  1. Time Limitations: Fixed term contracts cannot exceed a duration of 2 years.
  2. Renewal Limitations: Contracts cannot have an option to extend or renew to lengthen the employment period beyond the stipulated 2-year period. Additionally, extensions or renewals cannot occur more than once.
  3. Consecutive Contract Limitations: Employees cannot be offered a new fixed term contract if specific conditions apply. These include if:
    • their previous contract was fixed term, and
    • their previous and new contracts are mainly for the same work; and
    • there is continuity in the employment relationship between contracts. 

Additional considerations include whether:

  1. the employee’s previous contract contained an option to extend and was used;
  2. the total period of employment is greater than 2 years;
  3. the new contract has a clause to extend; and
  4. the previous contract was fixed term, similar work and there was substantial continuity of the employment relationship.

These new rules do not cover casual employees and contain exceptions for certain types of fixed term contracts. 

Contracts made before 6 December 2023 won’t fall under these new limitations, but the rules will apply to fixed term contracts entered into on or after this date.

Employers are mandated to provide a Fixed Term Contract Information Statement (FTCIS) to new employees engaged under these contracts after 6 December 2023. This statement outlines the regulations and entitlements related to fixed term employment.

Download the Fixed Term Contract Information Statement (FTCIS) here »

Steps to Ensure Compliance

In order to ensure compliance with the new changes, we recommend that businesses take the following steps:  

  • Familiarise yourself with the new rules as per the Fixed Term Contract Information Statement (FTCIS) above
  • Conduct an audit of any current employees on Fixed Term Contracts within the business to assess if contracts will be compliant moving forward
  • Identify whether the business or individual employee may be exempt from the new changes 
  • Revise Fixed Term Contract templates terms and conditions to ensure you are compliant.  

These changes aim to protect employees and ensure fair employment practices, while simultaneously providing clarity and guidelines for employers navigating the realm of fixed term contracts.  

Need Assistance?

At Allan Hall HR, we have a team of experienced consultants to assist with all your employment contractual arrangements and ensure your business is compliant with current legislation. If you are uncertain about how the new legislation applies to your business, please feel free to call us on 1300 675 393 or contact us here. To learn more about our HR services, please click here.

keyboard

The 120% technology and skills ‘boost’ deduction

The legislation granting small and medium businesses (SMBs) the opportunity to claim a 120% tax deduction for technology expenses, skills training and training costs has finally passed Parliament, nearly a year after the announcement in the 2022-23 Federal Budget.

However, there are a few timing complexities involved. To benefit from the technology investment boost, you needed to have purchased and installed the technology by 30 June 2023, which was just seven days after the legislation was passed.

Key points

  • Under both the technology and Skills and Training Boost, eligible expenses will be available for the 120% deduction if they were incurred between 29 March 2022 and 30 June 2024
  • The bonus deduction for the technology boost is capped at 20% of the eligible expenditure, up to a limit of $20,000 ($100,000 of eligible expenditure)
  • There is no limit for the skills and training boost.

Who is eligible for the boosts?

Small business entities (including individual sole traders, partnerships, companies or trading trusts) with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million can access the 120% skills and training boost, as well as the technology boost. Aggregated turnover includes the turnover of your business, affiliates and connected entities.

The technology investment Boost

Expenses that may qualify for the technology boost include:

  • Digital enabling items like computer hardware, telecommunications equipment, software, internet costs, computer network systems and services that facilitate their usage.
  • Digital media and marketing expenses including audio and visual content that can be accessed, stored or viewed on digital devices, as well as web page design.
  • E-commerce goods or services that support digitally ordered or platform-enabled online transactions, portable payment devices, digital inventory management, subscriptions to cloud-based services and advice on digital operations or digitisation such as guidance on digital tools for business continuity and growth.
  • Cybersecurity systems, backup management and monitoring services.

The technology must be primarily or substantially used for a business’s digital operations or digitisation. There must be a direct connection to how the business generates income, particularly through its digital operations.

There are several costs that the technology boost does not cover, such as expenses related to staff employment, capital raising, construction of business premises and the cost of goods and services sold by the business. The boost does not apply to:

  • Assets purchased and sold within the relevant period (on or before 30 June 2023)
  • Capital works costs, including improvements to business premises
  • Financing costs like interest expenses
  • Salary or wage costs
  • Training or education costs, meaning that training staff on software or technology does not qualify (refer to Skills and Training Boost below)
  • Trading stock or the cost of trading stock.

The Skills and Training Boost

The Skills and Training Boost is a program that provides SMBs with a 120% tax deduction for external training courses offered to their employees. The primary objective of this boost is to facilitate the growth of SMBs’ workforce by enabling them to hire and upskill less-experienced employees through external training. This initiative aims to enhance their skills and increase overall productivity.

Please note that sole traders, partners in a partnership, independent contractors and other non-employees are not eligible for the boost as it is specifically designed for employees. Similarly, associates such as spouses or partners, as well as trustees of a trust, are not qualified to participate.

To ensure compliance, there are a few rules to be aware of:

  • Registration for the training course must have occurred between 7:30 PM (AEST) on 29 March 2022 and 30 June 2024. If an employee is already enrolled in an eligible training course, enrolments in subsequent courses or classes after 29 March 2022 are considered eligible.
  • The training must be deductible to your business according to ordinary rules, meaning it should be directly related to how your business generates income.
  • The training needs to be provided by a registered training provider who charges your business (either directly or indirectly) for the training. (Please refer to the section on “What organisations can provide training for the boost?” below)
  • The training must be intended for employees of your business and should be delivered either in-person within Australia or through online platforms.
  • The training provider cannot be your business or an associate of your business.

Training expenditure can include costs associated with the training, such as resources or equipment necessary for the course, provided that the training provider charges your business for these expenses.

What organisations can provide training for the boost?

Please note that not all courses offered by training companies will qualify for the boost. Only courses offered by registered training providers within their registration will be eligible. Typically, these providers offer vocational training to acquire a trade or courses that contribute to a formal qualification, rather than purely professional development.

Qualifying training providers will be registered by:

While some desired training may not be delivered by registered training organisations, there is still a wide range of options available. Short courses offered by universities or flexible courses designed for upskilling, rather than obtaining a degree qualification, can still be explored, especially if they align with the development pathway identified through recent performance reviews for your staff.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL BUSINESS ADVISORS

July

1 July Changes

What you need to know

There are legal, financial, and other changes your business will have to be across very soon. Not sure what they are or what to do? Don’t worry, we have you covered.

It’s been a big year for changes in areas like people management, pay and tax. Here’s a rundown of some key changes that will come into effect 1 July and what they mean for your business and your employees.

1. SUPER GUARANTEE INCREASES

If you haven’t already, then it’s time to get your payroll systems sorted as the superannuation guarantee increases to 11% from 1 July.

Also, make sure you’re across the gradual increases, which will see the super guarantee reach 12% by July 2025.

To work out how this will impact employees’ pay, have a look at whether their contract states their salary is inclusive of superannuation or not.

2. WAGES GO UP

Employees should also be aware that from 1 July, wage increases will come into effect following a ruling from the Fair Work Commission.

For employees who aren’t covered by an award, the minimum wage will go up from 1 July to $882.80 per week, or $23.23 per hour, and will apply from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2023.

For employees covered by an award, minimum award wages will increase by 5.75%, also applying to the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2023.

3. FAIR WORK COMMISSION CHANGES

From 1 July 2023, the application fee will increase to $83.30. The fee applies to dismissal, general protections, bullying, and sexual harassment at work applications made under sections 365, 372, 394, 773, and 789FC of the Fair Work Act 2009.

There is no fee to make an application to deal with a sexual harassment dispute under section 527F of the Fair Work Act.

Also effective from 1 July, the high-income threshold in unfair dismissal cases will increase to $167,500 and the compensation limit will be $83,750 for dismissals occurring on or after 1 July 2023.

4. PAID PARENTAL LEAVE CHANGES

From 1 July, amendments to the Paid Parental Leave Scheme will come into effect.

Notably, the Dad and Partner Pay (DAPP) scheme, which currently provides up to two weeks of paid leave, will now be combined with the 18-week paid parental leave scheme. This means eligible parent couples or single parents can share their 20 weeks of leave – aimed at greater gender equity in parental caring responsibilities.

There are other changes, too, such as the whole 20 weeks of leave of instalments can be received flexibly in multiple blocks within 24 months of the child’s birth or adoption date, removing the previous requirement of 12 weeks in one continuous period.

Also, note that employees now have greater rights to request an additional 12 months of leave (24 in total) – and employers need to show reasonable business grounds on which to refuse.

5. CHILDCARE SUBSIDIES

For those who employ parents with young children, it’s worth noting that childcare rebates will change from 1 July. They should result in any employees with a family income of less than $530,000 getting a higher level of subsidy for the cost of childcare.

For example, families earning up to $80,000 will get an increased maximum Child Care Subsidy (CCS) amount, from 85% to 90%. If they earn over $80,000, they may get a subsidy starting from 90%, but it will go down by 1% for each $5,000 of income the family earns.

While these changes are applied automatically, it is worth being aware that they are coming.

6. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LEAVE INTRODUCED

From 1 February, employers with 15 or more employees were required to provide their employees with 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave (FDVL) per year. 

For smaller employers who employ less than 15 employees, this entitlement will operate from 1 August 2023.

Paid family and domestic violence leave is quite a sensitive topic, and there need to be procedures in place – on everything from how the HR or manager handles requests to the privacy issues around how it gets recorded on a pay slip.

7. PENSION AGE AND ELIGIBILITY INCREASES

For those businesses employing older Australians, it’s worth noting that from 1 July, the pension age will be raised to 67 for those born on or after 1 January 1957.

Not only that but asset and income eligibility tests will also be revamped, which means singles can earn $204 a fortnight and couples $360 a fortnight, before losing their full pension.

8. ENERGY BILL RELIEF ON ITS WAY

With soaring power bills contributing significantly to business operating costs, $650 in bill relief is on its way from July.

The total amount of bill relief will vary by state. To be eligible, your business must be on a separately metered business tariff with your electricity retailer – so if you run a business from home, you probably won’t qualify.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL BUSINESS ADVISORS

Minimum-Wage-Image

National Minimum Wage rise effective 1 July 2023

The Fair Work Commission has announced this year’s Annual Wage Review Decision

National Minimum Wage Increase 

Effective from 1 July 2023, the National Minimum Wage will increase by 5.75%.

In addition to the percentage increase, the Commission has also increased the wage level that the minimum wage had traditionally been based on under certain Modern Awards.

Together these two changes mean that those employees in receipt of the minimum wage will receive the following rates before tax:

  • $23.23 per hour, and
  • $882.80 per week (based on a 38-hour week for a full-time employee).

This increase will see an extra $70.20 ‘in the pocket’ each week.

Modern Award Rate Increase 

Similar to the National Minimum Wage increase, all 121 Modern Awards will also increase by 5.75% on 1 July 2023

The Fair Work Commission will release updated Pay Guides in line with the effective date.

Modern Awards can be complex. If you need help determining if a Modern Award applies to your employees or you understand what Awards apply but you need assistance understanding the specific Classification they fall under, contact the Allan Hall Human Resources Team on 1300 675 393.

Non-Award Employees 

It is important to note that if you have non-award covered employees receiving payment which is above the national minimum wage, you are not obliged to increase their salary/wages. However, with the current Australian job market being so competitive and a shortage of potential employees available, it may be worth undertaking a salary benchmarking exercise and considering if an increase would be suitable during your next salary review.    

At Allan Hall HR we can provide you with Salary Benchmarking reports, based on data from a range of current and reputable reporting sources. If you want to know what the market is doing, contact us to gain access to salary insights based on a range of factors such as industry, turnover, headcount and location!

Changes to Superannuation from 1 July 2023

As a reminder, the Super Guarantee rate will rise from 1 July 2023. This will rise by another half per cent, taking the minimum super guarantee from 10.5% to 11%.

The Super Guarantee rate will continue to rise by an additional 0.5% at the start of each financial year until it reaches 12% in 2025.

Next Steps

  1. Check if your employees are covered by the national minimum wage or a Modern Award.   
  2. Should a Modern Award apply to your employees, ensure you have correctly classified your employees under the relevant award, and confirm the minimum rates of pay that will apply.    
  3. Review the current rates of pay for your employees and, if required, adjust their pay rates from their first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2023.
  4. Ensure you start applying the new Superannuation Guarantee rate of 11% from 1 July 2023.

Our experienced HR Consultants at Allan Hall HR are available to answer your queries regarding the wage rise and assist you with clarification of awards, salary benchmarking or any other employee-related matters. Feel free to get in touch with us today on 1300 675 393.

CONTACT ALLAN HALL HUMAN RESOURCES

closed store

Annual Shutdown and Unpaid Leave changes

Understanding the revised regulations for Annual Leave and Unpaid Leave during temporary business shutdowns

Impact on employers and employees

Generally, when businesses temporarily shut down over Christmas/New Year, employers have been able to direct their employees to take annual leave or, where they have no annual leave entitlements available, employers have been able to direct their employees to take unpaid leave

As a result of changes to 78 Awards, from 1 May 2023, employers will no longer be permitted to direct their employees to take unpaid leave where they do not have a sufficient accrual of annual leave to cover the shutdown. 

The recent findings of the Fair Work Commission were, that making a direction to an employee to take unpaid leave was effectively a stand down, and the Fair Work Act 2009 only permitted employees to be stood down in limited circumstances, which did not include a temporary stoppage of operations such as an annual shutdown.   

Award Covered Employees 

Under the changes to the Awards listed in the Commission’s decision here, employers can still issue a direction to employees to take annual leave during a temporary shutdown if the direction is in writing, is reasonable and their employees have accrued sufficient annual leave entitlement. 

In assessing reasonableness, the following factors are relevant:   

  • the needs of the employee and the business   
  • any agreed arrangement with the employee   
  • custom and practice of the business   
  • timing of the direction or requirement to take leave   
  • whether the length of the period of notice given is reasonable. 

Each Award stipulates the period of notice which must be given to all employees of the shutdown (generally between 28 days and two months) unless a shorter period is agreed with the majority of employees, or for employees who are engaged after notice is given, as soon as reasonably practicable after they have been engaged. 

Employers are no longer permitted to direct employees to take unpaid leave where their annual leave entitlements have been exhausted. 

However, under the changes, employers can still: 

  • agree with an employee in writing that they take a period of unpaid leave; or 
  • come to an arrangement with the employee to take annual leave in advance resulting in a negative annual leave balance. 

But, if employees do not agree to the above, then they will be entitled to be paid wages during the shutdown period.  

Award and Agreement Free Employees 

For award and agreement-free employees, employers can still require them to take a period of annual leave if the requirement is reasonable. 

A requirement to take annual leave may be reasonable if, for example: 

  1. the employee has an excessive annual leave balance
  2. the business is being temporarily shut down for a period (such as between Christmas and New Year). 

Just like Award Covered Employees, Award/Agreement Free employees cannot be directed to take unpaid leave if they do not have sufficient accrued annual leave. 

Need Assistance?

If your business is planning a temporary shutdown of its operations, it is important that you are aware of your obligations under each applicable award for your employees and manage employee leave accordingly. Should you require assistance with notification requirements or reaching agreement with your employees regarding shutdown arrangements, please feel free to call us on 1300 675 393 or contact Alan Hall Human Resources here »