It seems that the pace of change in workplace relations keeps accelerating just like it does in other aspects of business and life.
Part of our role is to keep you informed about changes in your responsibilities as an employer so here are the “heads ups” on what’s changed from 1 July 2019 and a few other things that you need to be aware of.
Increases in national minimum wage and award rates
The Fair Work Commission increased the National Minimum Wage (for award-free employees) and award rates by 3% effective from the commencement of the first full pay period commencing on or after 1 July 2019. More information available at the Fair Work Ombudsman who publish pay guides and have a pay calculator tool.
Increases in unfair dismissal and high income thresholds
The high-income threshold under the Fair Work Act 2009 has increased to $148,700 (employees who earn more than this and are not covered by an award or have signed a high income declaration are not eligible to make unfair dismissal claims).
Also the maximum payout for unfair dismissal claims (which is equivalent to 26 weeks’ pay)has increased to $74,350.00.
Superannuation contribution cap
The maximum superannuation contribution base will increase from $54,030 to $55,270 per quarter meaning that the maximum contribution per quarter under the Superannuation Guarantee (9.5% of ordinary time earnings) from 1 July 2019 is $5,250.65.
Portable long service leave for some industries
The Victorian “Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018” comes into effect from 1 July 2019.
From that date, workers in the community services, contract cleaning and security industries will be entitled to portable long service leave for all service in the industry regardless of how many employers they might have or for how long they work for an individual employer in the industry. This is funded by an Employer Levy to apply to the Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme as follows:
- 1.65% for community services
- 1.80% for contract cleaning
- 1.80% for security
Reductions in Sunday penalty rates in some awards
The final set of reductions in Sunday penalty rates which have occurred over the past few years in various hospitality and retail awards take effect from 1 July 2019. The awards are:
- Fast Food Industry Award 2010
- Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010
- General Retail Industry Award 2010
- Pharmacy Industry Award 2010
Fair Work Information Statement
Under National Employment Standards, all new employees must be provided with a Fair Work Information Statement which explains a range of workplace rights and where to go for assistance with those. This has been updated and the new version that must be provided to new employees from 1 July 2019 and instructions on how to issue it can be accessed below.
There have been other recent changes and more coming on a range of employment matters including:
- Labour hire licensing and user obligations
- Casual conversion
- Leave to deal with family and domestic violence
- Flexible working arrangements and appeal rights
- Victorian long service leave rules
- Termination of employment provisions in awards
- Increases in casual penalty rates in retail award
The Bottom Line
With all of this change, you want to ensure that you have access to competent professional advice on workplace relations and compliant employment contracts, policies and procedures.
We are of course happy to help. If that is something that you want to explore, please contact us.
Hoping you have a great 2019/2020 year.