The financial year beginning in 2014, and ending in 2015, brings some relatively major changes. These relate to minimum wages, tax rates, and thresholds laws around Australia. Below is a summary of the more significant changes, which all employers should pay particular attention to. For some people, action might need to be taken immediately. Others will want to keep an eye on their compliance in the future. Please note that this is not an exhaustive report about all the new changes.
Minimum Wage Changes
The Fair Work Commission’s decision in the annual review in 2014, means that these changes will now take effect. It is a good time for workers to request an annual review for their pay, to make sure that their employers are following the laws regarding minimum wages.
- Minimum wages in Australian states and territories will go from $622.20 per week, to $640.90. This is the amount for a full time employee, above the age of 18, working 38 hours each week.
- Modern award rates have gone up by three percent, and this will flow through to annual salaries, as well as minimum hourly wages.
- The minimum hourly wage in Australia has gone from $16.37 to $16.87 an hour. This equates to 50 cents more an hour.
- For people employed on a casual basis, the loading on their pay has gone from 24 percent to 25 percent. Casual employees with a modern award rate will still receive a 25 percent loading rate.
These changes are applicable to all Australian workers who are in the system. This includes apprentices, juniors, trainees, pieceworkers, and differently-abled workers.
In WA, the minimum wage will effectively be $25 higher each week, compared to the Australian minimum.
High Income Threshold Changes
The threshold for people being labelled high income earners has gone from $129,300 to $133,000 per year. This is used for the purposes of the Fair Work Act. Those who earn more than this amount will not have access to jurisdiction about unfair dismissal laws, in a federal regard, related to the Fair Work Act.
The maximum amount a worker can be compensated, when it is found they were unfairly dismissed, has also gone up. This amount is half of the threshold for high income. Since that has gone up, the maximum award amount has gone from $64,650 to $66,500. The change might also affect non-application of awards for employees, with incomes that are arranged to be higher than the high income threshold.
The guarantee on superannuation has gone from 9.25 percent to 9.5 percent. The contribution cap is now set at $49,430 each quarter. Beyond this maximum, employers do not need to give superannuation support for any parts that exceed it. However, it is possible to have an agreement that requires an employer to make payments for the parts of income that go above this new maximum. This must be made as a contractual obligation.