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Essential Award Changes For 2019 EOFY Period

Published June 28, 2019 (last updated June 25, 2020) -
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We’ve outlined some of the key changes below which may affect your business

There are a raft changes to workplace laws effective from 1 July 2019 that will affect small businesses across Australia. We’ve outlined some of the key changes below which may affect your business. If you need to know more about how these changes could affect you, contact Employsure.

Minimum Wage Increase

Date of change: 1 July

Employsure would like to remind its clients that the minimum wage change of 3% will be effective as of 1 July.

In practical terms, this means that employees on the minimum wage will have to receive the increase from the first full pay period starting on or after Monday 1 July 2019. For tips about how to offset the cost of the increase, we’ve also put together a blog with a few tips to support your business.

Cash in hand payments

Date of change: 1 July

From 1 July, ‘cash in hand’ payments, also known as “cashies”, will not be tax deductible.

In addition, the following things will also lose their tax deductibility status:

  • Other employee payments that do not comply with pay as you go (PAYG) withholding obligations
  • Payments to contractors who have not supplied a valid ABN
  • Payments to contractors where the business does not withhold any tax

The ATO is keen to point out that cash payments aren’t illegal, except where they’re used to hide income.

“It is ok for people to transact in cash, provided they meet all of their reporting obligations,” said ATO assistant commissioner, Peter Holt (via AFR). Your accountant of financial adviser will be able to provide more information about these changes.

Pharmacy Award changes

Dates of change: 1 July & 1 October

There will be two rate increases to the Pharmacy Award in 2019. These changes will only affect four roles.

There will be two separate rate increases, on 1 July (concurrent with the minimum wage increase) and 1 October, of 2.5% rate each.

The following roles will be affected by the change:

  • Pharmacist
  • Experienced Pharmacist
  • Pharmacist in Charge
  • Pharmacist Manager

On 1 July, these roles will see a 5.5% increase (2.5% from this change, and 3% from the minimum wage increase). On 1 October, they will receive an additional 2.5% increase.In other words, this change will be a total increase of 5%, split in two. This is intended “to mitigate their effect on businesses”, according to the FWC ruling.

The purpose of the increase is to recognise that employees in these occupations should be rewarded for an overall increase in their responsibilities and accountability over the years.

Specifically, they have more documentation responsibilities and have become more involved in the administering of vaccinations, providing emergency contraception or dispensing medication.

Unions Right of Entry

Dates of change: 1 July & 1 October

There will be a slight change to the right of entry provisions on 1 July.

Anyone affected by such provisions must, from that date, have included on their Fair Work Commission-issued permits:

  • A photo, and
  • Signature of the permit holder; and
  • Any conditions of the permit’s use

Existing permit holders will be able to use their old permits, but from 1 October will need to present a Government-issued photo ID along with their old permit. Alternatively, they can get a new permit.

Long Service Leave Portability (Victoria only)

Date of change: 1 July

The Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018 will come into effect on 1 July.

This will mean that workers in the contract cleaning, security and community services sectors will be able to access long service entitlements, even if their employer changes.

Businesses who employ workers who perform work covered by the scheme will be required to register and provide a quarterly report to a new Portable Long Service Benefits Authority. Employers must also register their workers for the scheme.

Workers in the security and contract cleaning industries will be entitled to leave based on 1/60th of their accrued service, after seven years continuous service.

Workers in the community services sector will receive a payment instead of leave, based on the same formula.

As this is a portable scheme, workers will be able to move from employer to employer without losing their accrued entitlement, provided they stay within the industry.

As workers in this scheme are still entitled to accrue service for the purposes of the Long Service Leave Act, the Portability Act has arrangements to prevent double-dipping – that is, a worker cannot benefit from entitlements under two schemes for the same period worked.

Keep in mind that registration for this scheme opens on 1 July, and will have until 30 September to register.

Real Estate Industry Award 2010 changes to commission-only arrangements

Date of change: 30 June

From 30 June 2019 – not 1 July – there will be a change that will affect part-time employees under the Real Estate award.

In short, part-time employees can no longer be employed on commission-only arrangements.

New and existing commission-only part-time employees must receive the provisions and entitlements outlined in the Real Estate Industry Award 2010.

If businesses keep part-time employees on a commission-only basis after 30 June, this will constitute a breach of the Award and a penalty may be incurred.

An option for businesses, is to convert their part-time, commission-only employees to full-time, commission only employees, if they wish to keep their employee’s commission-only status.

As Employsure’s Senior Employment Relations Adviser Sophie Joselyn said, “Employers and employees will need to mutually agree to change the contract of employment, and it is recommended the employee signs a new contract of employment containing the new terms and conditions of employment.

Alternatively, “the employer may choose to remunerate the part-time employee on a debit-credit or target-based commission structure”.

Health Professional and Support Services changes to span of ordinary hours

Date of change: 9 July

There will be a change to the span of ordinary hours provision, under the Health Professional and Support Services Award 2010, on 9 July 2019.

Previously only covering workers employed in:

  • Private medical
  • Dental, and
  • Pathology

This provision will now cover

  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic, and
  • Osteopathic practices

From 9 July, the ordinary hours of work for a day worker (at a physiotherapy, chiropractic or osteopathic practice) will be worked between 7.30 am and 9.00 pm Monday to Friday and between 8.00 am and 4.30 pm on Saturday.

If you need help understanding or implementing these changes outlined in this blog, please contact Employsure

Business Equipment Award 2010

Date of change: 1 July

From the first full pay period on or after 1 July, all employees under the Business Equipment Award will receive an increase of 1% to their casual loading. The casual loading will now be 24%.

About Employsure

Employsure is Australia’s largest workplace relations specialists. We take the complexity out of workplace laws to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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