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1 July 2020

From 1 July 2020: 

  • National Minimum Wage will increase by 1.75% to $753.80 per 38 hour week (or $19.84 per hour) from $740.80 per 38 hour week (or $19.49 per hour).

The national minimum wage applies to employees who aren’t covered by an award or agreement.

  • Pay rates in Modern Awards will increase by 1.75%. These increases will take effect in three stages with the increases to Group 1 commencing from the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2019. The increases to the Awards in the three Groups will take effect as follows:
    • Group 1 – 1 July 2020 (Frontline Heath Care & Social Assistance Workers; Teachers and Child Care; and other Essential Services.  This includes the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010)
    • Group 2 – 1 November 2020 (Construction; Manufacturing and many other industries.  This includes the Clerks - Private Sector Award 2020)
    • Group 3 – 1 February 2020 (Accommodation and Food Services; Arts and Recreation Services; Aviation; Retail and Tourism)

For a complete list of Awards in each group, please refer to the Fair Work Ombudsman website

The increase in pay rate applies to employees whose employment is covered by a modern award and whose minimum pay rates are governed by that award.  Employers who pay award rates must check the relevant award to ensure that they are paying their employees according to the award. 

If you’re not sure which award applies to you, check the List of awards on the Fair Work Australia website

  • The “high income threshold” in unfair dismissal cases will increase to $153,600.

Employees who earn more than the high income threshold and who are not covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement are not able to access the unfair dismissal provisions in the Fair Work Act.

In calculating whether an employee’s earnings are above the high income thresholds, the following must be included:

  • Wages
  • Money that is paid on their behalf (e.g. superannuation top ups or salary sacrifice)
  • The agreed value of non-monetary benefits (e.g. laptop or mobile phone)
  • Compensation limit for unfair dismissal claims will increase to $76,800.
  • The filing fee for dismissals, general protections and anti-bullying applications made under the Fair Work Act will increase to $50.

 

What employers should do

If you pay award wages to your employees, check the applicable awards and the start dates for increases, and update rates of pay accordingly. 

 

 

9 June 2020

Media Release June 8, 2020

The Catholic Church has denounced a number of malicious emails being sent to random recipients claiming to be from Catholic parishes, dioceses and other organisations.

In recent weeks, emails have been sent that mention one or more of the following: Cardinal George Pell, the complainant in his criminal trial, COVID-19 and – most recently – the upcoming Eden-Monaro byelection.

“The content in the small number of emails that have been forwarded to us is offensive, un-Christian and, in some cases, defamatory,” said Fr Stephen Hackett MSC, general secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

“The views expressed in the emails we have seen do not in any way reflect the views of the Catholic Church, nor the organisations that are purported to have sent them.”

Information technology experts say the technique being used is call “spoofing”, which sees the attackers create fake email addresses using legitimate or seemingly legitimate domain names.

“This has been described as the equivalent of someone sending a letter in the post that is ‘signed’ in someone else’s name and contains a fake return address,” Fr Hackett said.

“Just as a letter of that kind would be hard to spot as fraudulent, some of the email addresses used appear to be legitimate and many people have contacted various Catholic organisations after receiving the messages.”

Organisations that are known to have been attacked have taken steps that can limit the sending and receipt of these emails, but those measures have limited effectiveness and rely partly on the spam and junk email settings of the recipients.

“There is no evidence to suggest that databases nor servers have been compromised, which is supported by the fact that some of the people who have contacted us have no connection with the Catholic Church,” Fr Hackett said.

“It is deeply regrettable that a number of people are being maligned in these emails, which seem designed to attack Cardinal Pell, Witness J, the Catholic Church and now even politicians.”

Fr Hackett says a number of media reports have described an increase in the amount of devious online behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been told that because these emails aren’t seeking money or seeking to access people’s personal details, they don’t meet the threshold for criminal investigation.

“We, nevertheless, see this behaviour as harmful and criminal,” he said.

1 October 2018

From 1 October 2018 “regular” casual employees who are covered by a Modern Award will have the right request their employer to have their casual employment converted to full-time or part-time employment

A regular casual employee is defined as a casual employee who has worked a set regular pattern of hours on an ongoing basis with the employer for the previous 12 months, and could expect to continue to perform as a full-time or part-time worker.

Eligibility

The entitlement applies to regular casual workers who have worked full-time hours over the preceding 12 months and to casual workers who have worked less than full-time hours over the preceding 12 months.

Entitlement

A regular casual employee who has worked full-time hours or part-time hours during the preceding 12 month period may request their employment to be converted to full-time employment or part-time employment respectively.

There is no obligation on a casual employee to convert to full-time to part time employment and there is no requirement for an employer to require a regular casual employee to convert their employment.

Requesting conversion to full-time or part-time employment

The request must be made in writing and provided to the employer and the employer may agree to or refuse the request.  If the employer agrees to the request, the employer must state in writing the type of employment that the casual employment is being converted to, the pattern of hours to be worked in the case of part-time employment and the date when the conversion will take effect.

Refusal of a request for conversion may only be made on reasonable grounds and after consultation with the employee.  Reasonable grounds for refusal include:

  • Significant changes to the casual employee’s hours to accommodate the request (i.e. the employee is not truly a regular casual)
  • The employer knows or can forsee that:
    • the regular casual employee’s position will cease to exist within the next 12 months; or
    • the regular casual employee’s hours of work will be significantly reduced in the next 12 months; or
    • there will be a significant change in the days and/or times at which the employee’s hours of work are required to be performed in the next 12 months which cannot be accommodated within the days and/or hours during which the employee is available to work.

The employer must provide the regular casual employee with reasons for refusal in writing within 21 days of the request being made.

A casual employee who has converted to full-time or part-time employment can only revert back to casual employment with the written agreement of the employer. 

What employers must do:

  • Modern Awards require employers to provide all casual employees who are covered by an Award, whether or not they are a regular casual employee, with a copy of the casual conversion clause in the applicable award within 12 months of their first engagement of work.
  • For casual employees who are already employed as of 1 October 2018, the employer must provide the casual employee with a copy of the casual conversion clause by 1 January 2019.

1 July 2018

From 1 July 2018: 

  • National Minimum Wage will increase by 3.5% from $694.90 per 38 hour week (or $18.29 per hour) to $719.20 per 38 hour week (or $18.93 per hour).

The national minimum wage applies to employees who aren’t covered by an award or agreement.

  • Pay rates in modern awards will increase by 3.5%. These increases will take effect in all awards from the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2018.

The increase in pay rate applies to employees whose employment is covered by a modern award and whose minimum pay rates are governed by that award.  Employers who pay award rates must check the relevant award to ensure that they are paying their employees according to the award. 

If you’re not sure which award applies to you, check the List of awards on the Fair Work Australia website

  • The “high income threshold” in unfair dismissal cases will increase to $145,400.

Employees who earn more than the high income threshold and who are not covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement are not able to access the unfair dismissal provisions in the Fair Work Act.

In calculating whether an employee’s earnings are above the high income thresholds, the following must be included:

  • Wages
  • Money that is paid on their behalf (e.g. superannuation top ups or salary sacrifice)
  • The agreed value of non-monetary benefits (e.g. laptop or mobile phone)
  • Compensation limit for unfair dismissal claims will increase to $72,700
  • The filing fee for dismissals, general protections and anti-bullying applications made under the Fair Work Act will increase to $71.90

 

What employers should do

If you pay award wages to your employees, check the applicable awards to ensure that they are being paid correctly.

To assist with this, the Fair Work Commission has prepared five facts sheets which cover:

  • Aged care industry
  • Clerical industry
  • General retail industry
  • Hair and beauty industry
  • Hospitality industry

The fact sheets relate to 5 different industries and provide examples of how the increase will be implemented in those awards. They are available from the Minimum wage increases for 2018 page on the Commission’s website.