New Laws And Changes To Your Business Starting Today

Published July 01, 2019 (last updated July 21, 2020) -

One financial year is over and today marks the new financial year – initiating a host of changes. Here’s everything you need to know about what’s changing and how it may impact your business.

Minimum wage and Awards have increased

The national minimum wage will be increasing by 3 percent from the first full pay period on or after July 1.

This means that the current weekly minimum wage for a 38-hour working week will increase from $719.20 to $740.78.

Australia’s 2.2 million award-dependent workers get an extra $21.60 per week.

Employsure have produced a handy survival guide to the minimum wage – found here.

Penalty rates cuts for more than 700,000 retail, fast food and hospitality workers

Last year, the Fair Work Commission introduced staged reductions to Sunday penalty rates in the retail sector over three years, which ultimately will come down to 170 per cent for full and part-time employees and 200 per cent for casuals from 1 July 2020.

The first of these changes took effect from 1 November 2018.

The reduction of public holiday penalty rates applies to the following Awards:

  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010
  • Restaurant Industry Award 2010
  • General Retail Industry Award 2010
  • Fast Food Industry Award 2010
  • Pharmacy Industry Award 2010

These reductions, however, were offset by modest increases to penalty rates for Saturdays and evening hours, it said at the time.

Brandon Rigger, senior employment relations adviser at Employsure, said, “It is so important for small business to be across these changes.”

“Workplace compliance can feel like a minefield, and it is essential to get the right advice to avoid paying too little or too much,” he said.

New banking code of practice

A new Banking Code of Practice, which includes rules meaning people will get more information about changes to their accounts and small businesses will receive simpler contracts with fewer conditions.

This is a new rule book for Australian banks,” Australian Banking Association chief executive Anna Bligh told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

“It’s a set of rules about how they treat customers, and it provides customers with rights and protections that are new.”

Small business will also be offered smaller and simpler contracts for their loans, doing away with much of their usual confusing legal jargon.

Removal of tax deduction eligibility on certain payments

Payments to employees and contractors, those made in cash that are not declared to the ATO will not be eligible for a tax deduction, as part of the Tax Office’s bid to restrict tax and super avoidance.

Payments covered under this new rule include wages and salary, bonuses, commissions, allowances, director fees, labour hire payments and those made to either religious practitioners or for a supply of services.

This applies where tax has not been withheld or the ATO is not notified.

“It is ok for people to transact in cash, provided they meet all of their reporting obligations,” said ATO assistant commissioner, Peter Holt as reported in the Australian Financial Review.

“Your accountant of financial adviser will be able to provide more information about these changes,” says Mr Rigger.

Extended instant asset write-off

Parliament approved an increase of the instant asset-write off to $30,000 and for the first time, eligibility has been extended to include medium-sized businesses with turnover of up to $50 million.

It applies to all business asset purchases of less than $30,000 in value, made between 7.30pm on 2 April Through to 1 July 2020.

Financial misconduct complaints

Today also marks another important date for Australian SMEs and consumers, relating to making complaints of misconduct by banks and other financial institutions. Successful claims could net $1 million for most of them, and $2 million for a primary producer.

A one-year window will be granted to submit complaints to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) dating as far back as 1 January 2008.

It follows the revelations of misconduct unearthed by the banking royal commission.

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