Coronavirus – What’s your plan B?

We have been receiving a number of enquiries relating to the ‘what ifs’ around employer/ employee relations with the current health discussions pertaining to the Coronavirus. We do understand that everyone has their own opinions and this advice is of a general nature.

Most work places have begun restricting staff can and cannot do to control the impact the virus could have to ongoing business and the health of staff. We understand that some companies have stopped interstate and international business travel as well as cancelling conferences and other face to face meetings. In the majority of these cases, business can be conducted remotely and the need for face to face contact can be avoided.

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Single Touch Payroll Exemption

From July 1,  Single Touch Payroll (STP) starts for employers with less than 20 employees. STP is a new way of reporting tax and super information to the ATO. This will be done each time you run a payroll, the details of the payslip will be sent to the ATO electronically.

The majority of families with a nanny will be exempt until July 2021.

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Court ruling against casual employee status

The Federal Court of Australia on 16 August 2018, ruling has granted a terminated casual worker annual leave entitlements.

The Court found a truck driver employed under a labour hire arrangement as a casual, was not a casual under employment law, because of his regular and continuous pattern of work over the 2.5 years of employment and as such should have been entitled to annual leave entitlements.

Further information can be found AMMA website

Get set for a 3.3% increase to the minimum wage

The Fair Work Commission has announced a 3.3% increase to minimum wages. The increase will apply from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2017.

The new national minimum wage will be $18.29 per hour for a permanent employee  21 year and over and $22.86 for a casual employee. This applies to all domestic staff employed through a WPN or ABN everywhere but WA.

In WA, as at 1st July 2016 ( no increase has been released yet) its $18.23 for a permanent and $21.88  casual employee.

Backpacker tax starts Jan 1

New tax rates will apply from 1 January 2017     

From 1 January 2017 tax rates are changing for working holiday makers who hold 417 and 462 visas. These rates are known as working holiday maker tax rates.

What you need to do

If you employ a working holiday maker who is in Australia on a 417 or 462 visa, you:

›            must register with with the ATO to withhold at the working holiday maker tax rate

›             visit to check your worker has a 417 or 462 visa using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online service

›             must withhold tax at  15% on income up to $37,000 and apply foreign resident tax rates on income over $37,000.

What happens next

The working holiday tax rates only apply to income earned from 1 January 2017.

If you currently employ working holiday makers you’ll need to issue two payment summaries this year:

›            one for the period to 31 December 2016

›             a second for any period to 30 June 2017.For more information  go to the ATO website


Working With Children Checks

Date:  9th November 2016

A Working with Children Check is mandatory in Australia and early childhood providers must fulfil the requirements of the state/territory they are employed in. Reputable babysitting agencies will have policies in place to ensure employees undergo WWCCs and background checks – which protect both the children in care and the agency from future issues.

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Child Care Benefit Update

Source:  Dept of Education & Training
Date: Tuesday 21 June 2016

The Child Care Subsidy builds on the Productivity Commission’s recommendations and will make the system simpler, more affordable, more flexible and more accessible for families.

From July 2018, the Child Care Subsidy will replace the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate with a single, means-tested payment to better support families with access to affordable child care.

Family eligibility for the Child Care Subsidy will be subject to a three-step activity test, more closely aligning the hours of subsidised care with the hours of work, training, study or other recognised activity undertaken, and providing for up to 100 hours of subsidy per fortnight.

Families earning $65,710^ or less will receive a subsidy of 85 per cent of the actual fee paid (up to an hourly fee cap). For family incomes above $65,710^, the subsidy tapers down to 20 per cent when family income reaches $340,000^ or more.

Families on incomes below $65,710^ a year will be able to access 24 hours of subsidised care per fortnight without having to meet the activity test.

More information to support families and services to adapt to the new system will be available before the changes come into effect in July 2018.

Fine issued to an employer for underpaying backpackers

Source: ABC News
Date: 12 July 2016

A Queensland restaurant operator who claimed a worker ate too much food and used too much air conditioning has been fined $21,000 after refusing to reimburse the underpaid staffer.

The owners of Fire and Stone restaurant at Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island illegally paid a Chinese backpacker $10 an hour in 2014.

At the time the worker was aged in her 20s, spoke limited English and was in Australia on a working holiday visa.

She contacted the Fair Work Ombudsman which found she was underpaid $1,577 in just 19 days, having received less than half the legal rate of pay for a casual hospitality worker.

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