Group 3 Awards’ Minimum Wage Increase
At the beginning of 2020 the Fair Work Commission announced an increase to minimum wages. While the increase of 1.75% was applied to the National minimum wage from 1 July 2020, the roll-out to each Award was staged across three groups.
Group One Awards increased from 1 July 2020 and included:
- Front-line Heath Care & Social Assistance Workers
- Teachers and Child Care
- Other Essential Services
Group Two Awards increased from 1 November 2020 and included:
- Manufacturing and
- A range of other industries
The final group of Awards, Group Three, are yet to receive their increase as this has been delayed until 1 February 2021. The Award groups in this category include:
- Accommodation and Food Services
- Arts and Recreation Services
For a detailed list of the Awards included in Groups One, Two and Three, see the Fairwork Commission website.
What do employers need to do?
In order to remain compliant with the wage increase, employers should complete a wage review to ensure they are paying each employee in line with the new minimum rates for their relevant Modern Award.
The wage changes must be applied to the first full pay period on or after the new wage comes into effect. At the very least, employers must ensure their full-time employees are paid at least the National Minimum Wage, which is $19.84 per hour or $753.80 per week.
For employers who have Enterprise Agreements in place, you must ensure the base rates within your agreements do not fall below the National Minimum Wage or the relevant Modern Award.
Employers who fail to pay wages in accordance with the National Minimum Wage, or the requirements of the relevant Modern Award, risk breaching the Fair Work Act 2009. You could be subject to hefty fines and a requirement to back-pay staff if it’s found you have failed to correctly pay your staff.
Help is at hand
You don’t have to go it alone. The HR Dept is here to help you:
- Ensure your wage payments remain compliant
- Run annual wage reviews
- With any of your HR needs
We offer adhoc support services as well as ongoing, regular assistance. Contact us today to discuss how we can assist you and your business.
Everything you need to know – JobMaker Hiring Credits
JobMaker Hiring Credits are an incentive for eligible businesses. Their purpose is to provide financial credits for each additional position created for an eligible job seeker between 7 October 2020 to 6 October 2021.
How it works
For an eligible employee aged 16 to 29 who is hired in a newly created position, employers will receive $200 a week. For an eligible employee aged 30 to 35 who is hired in a newly created position, employers will receive $100 a week.
New positions created from 7 October 2020 till 6 October 2021 will attract the JobMaker Hiring Credit for up to 12 months from the date the position is created.
The credit can be claimed quarterly in arrears from 1 February 2021 and employers will need to report quarterly to show they meet eligibility criteria. The credit will be paid to employers – not employees.
Registrations for JobMaker opened on 7 December 2020 and can be completed at any point prior to claiming. Employers who don’t report through STP can visit the ATO website for details on how to register.
What if I’m starting a new business?
New businesses created but without registered employees on 30 September 2020 are able to claim the JobMaker Hiring Credit for the second person hired as well as any subsequent new hires. Obviously, the business must meet the JobMaker eligibility criteria.
Eligible employees need to complete a nomination form in which they declare they meet the eligibility requirements for the JobMaker Scheme. This includes a requirement that they haven’t completed a JobMaker nomination form for another employer they are working for.
Employees may be employed on a casual, permanent, or fixed-term basis.
Contact the HR Dept for more information on how the JobMaker scheme works and what you need to do as an employer.
The January Work Itch: Managing Resignations and Recruitment at the Start of the Year
For many small businesses and HR Departments, January traditionally heralds the time of year when employee turnover increases. This can be a double-edged sword.
The New Year: a great time to recruit
Holidays, especially those that involve New Year’s resolutions, offer people a time to reflect and catch their breath. This often means they start thinking about moving on. Or they may realise how unhappy they’ve been in their current job. They may feel undervalued or simply think they can earn more in the greener pastures on the other side.
The other side: an increase in resignations
On the other hand, your business may find it’s dealing with resignations. For smaller businesses, the resignation of a key staff member could have a huge impact – leaving gaping holes in knowledge and skills. It’s important to monitor your staff engagement levels in the early weeks and months of the new year so you can spot potential leavers before they act.
While you cannot stop the January itch to start the new year afresh, you can ensure your employees feel they are valued, supported and can grow within your business. If they still choose to leave, wish them well.
Give The HR Dept a call if you need a hand with resignations and recruitment. Our team is here to help you navigate the highs and lows of HR with ease.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Returning to Work after Recovering from COVID-19
While COVID-19 numbers are low in Australia, you may still face questions about your duty of care as an employer of a person who is recovering from the disease.
Allowing COVID-19 survivors to return to work
You cannot stop an employee returning to work once they recover from COVID-19.However, there are guidelines in place to identify when they can or should return to work.
According to the Australian Government Department of Health, employees who have isolated after testing positive for COVID-19 “can return to work once they have fully recovered and have met the criteria for clearance to return to work”.
Physical and mental support by employers of COVID-19 survivors
As with many other health-related concerns, employers must manage and reduce any stigma around COVID-19 for staff returning to work after precautionary self-quarantine or illness. Employers also need to nip any workplace discrimination in the bud.
Managing ongoing symptoms after being cleared of the virus
Recovery from COVID-19 varies between people – just like any illness. So work closely with any employees who are recovering from COVID, to manage their workload as they return to work. We can help you map out a Return to Work program for them.
Should employees continue to be unwell, it’s important to take note of Fair Work regulations regarding ongoing illness.
Give our friendly HR experts a call if you have any questions or concerns around your HR practices.
Managing the Return of Company Equipment
The unprecedented COVID-19 lock-downs continue to have ongoing challenges for business. One challenge is the use of company equipment when working from home. More than ever before, having the right policies, guidelines, and documents is essential.
It’s the employee’s responsibility to maintain and look after any equipment or tools supplied to them by their employer. It’s also the employee’s responsibility to return equipment, vehicles and tools as reasonably directed by their employer.
Having the right policies and procedures in place makes it possible for your business to take legal action should an employee refuse to return your company property.
As you can see, asking for the return of company equipment can be fraught with challenges. We’re here to help.