FWO recovers over $40m in underpaid wages

The Fair Work Ombudsman has been very busy in 2018/19 and that is only likely to ramp up further this year and in the future.

Here are all the numbers direct from www.fairwork.gov.au

infographic of 2018-19 annual report

Need help in understanding and complying with your obligations as an employer – contact us for a no obligation and free chat

Would a conversation work better?

I often hear talk in businesses about how people are sending too many emails instead of just going and talking to the other party.

Organisations everywhere seem to be struggling with managing this and the impact that it can have on work and personal relationships.

I learned the value of conversations a long time ago under two very different managers – the first one managed HR by getting around the place and having conversations with people. The second sat in his office and issued policies and memos.

People loved the first one, trusted him, listened to him and worked proactively with him. Of course he confirmed things in writing when necessary but relationships came first. He was great to work for.

The second one was not a bad guy but, because he dealt through memo rather than conversations, people did not get to know him. He was all risk management process and really didn’t have good relationships with anyone. So they didn’t trust him and they resisted him. I looked for and found another job.

I saw this image on linkedin and thought it captured the message really well.

Acknowledgement: @SteeleThoughts

Perhaps before sending an email, we should think about whether a conversation would be better.

Not a bad exercise for a team to have a conversation about – when you should have a conversation and when an email is best.

Supporting World Mental Health Day

Lots of changes from 1 July 2019

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

For more information, see our earlier article

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

All of the details can be accessed here.

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.

Fair Work Information Statement 2019

Other stuff

There have been other recent changes and more coming on a range of employment matters including:

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.

Labour hire licensing starting

The Victorian “Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018” partially came into operation on 29 April 2019.

The first step in this is that labour hire firms wanting to operate in Victoria have to get a licence within 6 months (ie by 29 October 2019).

When the Act comes into full operation, it will be an offence for a labour hire firm to operate without a licence and also for a business which hires an unlicensed labour hire operator.

If you currently use labour hire services, you should enquire as to whether they are intending to obtain a licence and validate their eligibility to legally operate before 29 October 2019.

If you provide people to work inside businesses in any way, you should also investigate the question of whether your business qualifies as a labour hire operator under the Act.

Further information can be obtained from the Labour Hire Authority.