Minimum wage increases and other changes affecting workplaces from 1 July

Services: Intellectual Property & Technology, People & Workplace, Real Estate & Construction
Industry Focus: Financial Services, Insurance, Life Sciences & Healthcare, Real Estate & Construction
Date: 30 June 2017
Author: Mei-Lim Smith, Associate and Maree Skinner, Partner
Partner
T +61 2 8233 9803
M +61 427 229 971
Associate
T +61 2 8233 9624
Partner
T +61 2 8233 9605
M +61 456 780 671
Partner
T +61 2 8233 9617
M +61 417 426 039

Key changes affecting Australian workplaces are about to take effect, impacting minimum wages, unfair dismissal, penalties for breaches of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Fair Work Act) and superannuation contributions.

From 1 July 2017:

  • The national minimum wage will increase by 3.3% to $694.90 per week or $18.29 per hour.

  • Minimum wage rates in modern awards will also increase by 3.3%.

  • Junior employees and apprentices will receive a proportionate increase to these adult minimum wage rates.

  • The high income threshold used to determine whether an award/agreement-free employee is eligible to make an application for unfair dismissal will increase to $142,000.

  • The maximum amount of compensation that the Fair Work Commission can order an employer to pay to an employee who brings a successful unfair dismissal claim will be capped at $71,000, being half of the high income threshold.

  • Civil penalties for breaches of the Fair Work Act will increase to $63,000 per contravention for corporations and $12,600 per contravention for individuals.

  • The concessional (before tax) superannuation contributions cap will be cut to $25,000. The after tax non-concessional superannuation contributions cap will also be cut to $100,000.

Another important development for businesses to follow is the progress of the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill. The Bill has passed through the House of Representatives and is currently under review by the Senate, which means that the Federal Government’s proposal to hold franchisors and holding companies responsible for contraventions of the Fair Work Act by their franchisees or subsidiaries is one step closer to taking effect.

The changes proposed in the Bill include:

  • the introduction of new offences that capture franchisors and parent companies who fail to take reasonable steps to prevent non-compliance within their networks

  • a tenfold increase in the maximum penalty for serious contraventions of the to $630,000 for a corporation and $126,000 for an individual.

For more information, please contact:

Maree Skinner | Partner

T +61 2 8233 9803 | M +61 427 229 971

E maree.skinner@dibbsbarker.com

Fay Calderone | Partner

T +61 2 8233 9605 | M +61 456 780 671

E fay.calderone@dibbsbarker.com

Leonard Lozina | Partner

T +61 2 8233 9617 | M +61 417 426 039

E leonard.lozina@dibbsbarker.com

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Key changes affecting Australian workplaces are about to take effect, impacting minimum wages, unfair dismissal, penalties for breaches of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Fair Work Act) and superannuation contributions.