The trend of 2019 was described as, the year of wage theft and underpayment, but a new year has welcomed some fresh changes for legislation and employee award standards. Tracy Angwin, CEO of the Australian Payroll Association said, “the breath of failures reported in 2019 highlighted just how difficult the employee award system can be”. Angwin also said, it is crucial that businesses hire qualified professionals to deal with payroll and changes to government legislation and employee awards. 

Changes for this year include:

  • Super updates

From 1 January 2020, employers are now required to pay super on an employee’s gross rate, including on any salary they have sacrificed.

  • Salary sacrificing contributions

January 1 marked the end of employers utilising a salary sacrifice to make up all, or part, of their compulsory SG contributions. It ensures that any proportion of an employee’s salary that is ‘salary sacrificed’ cannot be put into a super fund as part of the mandatory 9.5 per cent in super contributions that should be contributed by the employer.

  • Working hours update

In March some awards (22) will be changed with regard to working hours. From March 1, for the affected awards, employers will need to notify employees in writing of their annualised salary and their maximum ordinary working hours outside the 38-hour week.

  • More consistent record-keeping

Under the new employee award rules, employers must keep records of the start finish and break times of all workers, to ensure no excess hours are worked outside of overtime stipulations.

  • Overtime

Also coming 1 March, employers will be required to pay employees for overtime worked if their salary doesn’t cover it.

If an employer finds that a worker received less pay on their annualised wage agreement than if they were paid under the award, they must pay the difference.

Any shortfalls must be paid to them within 14 days. This process needs to occur every 12 months, even upon the termination of a contract.

  • Superannuation guarantee amnesty

In November, the superannuation guarantee amnesty passed the House of Representatives and has now passed on to the Senate.

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