Human Resources and Payroll Check – are you compliant
Payroll and Employment contracts
Yesterday, the Fair Work Commission increased the national minimum wage by 2.5% to $656.90 per week or $17.29 per hour. This increase will filter through all Award rates across all classification levels. This increase of 2.5% will be effective from the first full pay period after 1st July 2015, so it is important for all employers to start their planning now.
Some important notes for employers to ensure their compliance are:
- If you currently pay a salary above minimum Award rates and you are not intending to give pay rises this year, it is a good idea to recheck your employees’ rates against the new minimum Award rates and ensure all your employees are still at or above minimum Award rates.
- Ensure your payroll people know which of your employees are Award based and which ones are not. Remember: paying above Award wages does not exempt you from all other terms and conditions of the Award or the Fair Work Act. If you are unsure, check with Fairwork Australia at fairwork.gov.au, they have a range of online tools and services to help you get it right.
- If you have any special payment arrangements (eg not paying overtime, leave loading or a certain allowance or penalty because you pay a higher salary) make sure this arrangement is clearly documented. Don’t rely on a verbal agreement or a quick email to protect you from a future wage claim.
- It’s a great time of year to check if your employment contracts were created before 2009 and have not been amended since the introduction of the Fair Work Act 2009 or the Modern Award system in 2010. A quick review of your employment conditions and contracts is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to protect your business.
This process provides an ideal time to review those staff who currently work for you and ensure that their personnel details are up to date. Be sure to check personnel files to ensure all necessary paperwork is signed and on file, and update missing documents as necessary.
Payment Summaries must be received by the worker by the 14th July, mailing them out on the 14th will not meet this compliance obligation, so be sure to plan ahead.
You are also obligated to send to the ATO both the ‘Tax Office original’ and a ‘PAYG payment summary statement’ no later than 14 August, luckily this can now be done electronically.
No changes to the Superannuation Guarantee Legislation (SGL) employer contributions this year. They remain at 9.5%.
Recent cases have yet again shown that it’s not what you do, but how you do it, that could get you in trouble. A termination or redundancy may be appropriate, reasonable or even necessary, but if it is not carried out according to procedure, you could still face an unfair dismissal claim.
The consultation provisions within the Fair Work Act require you to consult with employees on ANY change in the workplace that may affect them, that will include changes to their position and especially redundancy.
Before you terminate or discipline a staff member, take a breath and get someone to help you work through the process correctly.