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Award Flexibility During the COVID-19 Pandemic Update

With the continued impact of COVID-19 on workplaces, the Fair Work Commission has announced the decision to extend in a number of modern awards the temporary Award Flexibility provisions and unpaid pandemic leave (Schedule X). The extension of the temporary Award Flexibility provisions affect the below modern awards: Restaurant Award Clerks Award Hospitality Award Vehicle Award Fast Food Award Education (General Staff) Award For full details go to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website. The extended unpaid pandemic leave (Schedule X) effects some awards. There are different end dates for Schedule X so please ensure you check your Award. You can see a full list of Awards with unpaid pandemic leave and their new end dates by going to the Fair Work Ombudsman's website. HOW CAN WE HELP? Essential HR in partnership with Employment Innovations are leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium-sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, outsourcing payroll, payroll software, human resource management & HR software. Click here for further information or contact me directly at

1.75% increase to minimum wages announced today

Today the Fair Work Commission announced a 1.75% increase to minimum awards wages. For anyone not covered by an award or an agreement, the new national minimum wage (NMW) will be $753.80 per week or $19.84 per hour. Unlike previous years, not all award increases will be effective the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2020. Instead, awards will start on 3 different dates for different groups of awards. The 3 groups are: Group 1 Awards - from 1 July 2020 Frontline Heath Care & Social Assistance Workers Teachers and Child Care Other Essential Services Group 2 Awards - from 1 November 2020 Construction Manufacturing A range of other industries Group 3 Awards - from 1 February 2021 Accommodation and Food Services Arts and Recreation Services Aviation Retail Tourism HOW CAN WE HELP? Essential HR in partnership with Employment Innovations are leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium-sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, outsourcing payroll, payroll software, human resource management & HR software. Click here for further information or contact me directly at

Don't risk non-compliance in your workplace

Workplace legislation is complex and for ever changing. Over the last few months we have seen temporary changes to Modern Awards to accommodate the effects of COVID 19 in the workplace. For as little as $250 per month you can have access to unlimited workplace advice, HR templates and representation in the event of any complex workplace claim, without further legal costs. We will also carry out a compliance audit for you. Ease the HR headache and let us support you. For further information click here or contact me directly at

Temporary changes to the Fast Food Industry Award 2010

The Fair Work Commission recently announced temporary changes to the Fast Food Industry Award 2010 to allow for more flexibility for employers during COVID-19. The changes include new provisions for part-time employees and annual leave arrangements. These amendments are effective from the employee’s first full pay period on or after 19 May 2020 until 31 July 2020. These changes apply to employers under the Fast Food Award who do not qualify for JobKeeper and employees covered by the award who are not eligible for JobKeeper. To find out more click here! About Essential HR Essential HR, located in Adelaide, works in partnership with Employment Innovations, making employment easier by combining HR, legal & payroll services with technology. With a powerful combination of new age technology, partnerships and expertise, we will deliver efficiencies, compliance and forward thinking to your business that you never thought possible.

Recent Casual Entitlements Ruling

Ben Thompson (CEO at Employment Hero) and Simon Obee(Principal Lawyer at Employment Innovations) ran a very informative webinar yesterday looking at what the WorkPac v Rossato casual employee entitlements decision mean for your business? On 21 May, the court decision of WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84 gained a lot of (somewhat misleading) media attention and has left many Australian business owners feeling unsure where their casual employees stand. To see the helpful guide Ben and Simon have put together, unpacking the WorkPac v Rossato decision, click here.

Taking sick leave during stand down? Is this allowed?

On 18 May 2020, the Federal Court handed down its decision in Communications, Electrical, Electronic, Energy, Information, Postal, Plumbing and Allied Services Union of Australia & Ors v Qantas Airways Limited [2020] FCA 656 which concerned accessing personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave during a period of stand down. The Federal Court has determined that employees stood down pursuant to s.524 and s.525 of the Fair Work Act 2009 are not able to take paid personal/carer’s leave (“sick leave”) or compassionate leave whilst stood down without pay. Find out more from EI legal: CLICK HERE

Opportunities to build a better business during and post COVID 19

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Australia has managed to challenge every aspect of business operation in a very short period of time. I am sure the experience has exposed many strengths and weaknesses in your business and continues to do so. I understand that many business owners, managers and employees are feeling a mixture of emotions: sadness, anxiety, stress, helplessness etc. However, I write this article, not to further communicate the horror effects COVID 19 is having on businesses, but to talk about the opportunities to build a better business post COVID 19 through good HR systems, practices and strategies. This experience has certainly highlighted the need for businesses to future proof themselves, and now is your opportunity to develop and implement changes that will achieve this. Some trigger points indicating there are opportunities to improve in your business are: • Drowning in paperwork? • Using antiquated or inapt technology? • Losing focus from the bigger picture? • Experiencing too many employee issues? • Unsure how to manage your employees? • Lacking updated policies and procedures? • Concerned about meeting your legal obligations? • Wasting money on inefficient HR and payroll systems? • Experiencing high staff turnover? • Hearing employee excuses instead of ownership? • Losing your best employees and customers? • Concerned your processes are a compliance risk? • Confused about who to ask regarding HR matters? Below I look at 5 opportunities you can implement during this period to future proof your business. Implementing better HR and Payroll systems and processes A good starting point that won’t cost you a fortune is implementing HR and Payroll technology such as EI Payroll and Employment Hero (HR Platform). Although they are two different platforms, they seamlessly integrate. Just by implementing these systems alone you will reduce time spent on HR administration and payroll processing by 70-80%. This means you do not need to allocate full-time resources to manage these activities across your business. Here is a list of what the benefits are: Creates a paperless environment – saving you thousands on paper and stationary, all activities will be completed via the platform, such as timesheets, rosters, employment contracts, ever-occurring letters including salary increases, promotions, job transfers, warnings and terminations and any other events that may arise. Improves and makes less confusing compliance - reducing the risks of underpaying or overpaying staff, fines from Fair Work Ombudsman for non-compliance and legal fees to defend an employee claim. Boosts efficiency and productivity – Everything is securely kept in the cloud. This means there’s no such thing as lost files, relevant staff can work remotely, it’s easier to work with external consultants, your employees can check their details on the go and new starters can onboard and commence induction activities before they walk in on their first day. Goodbye filing cabinets. Engaging with your people – through employee self-service, staff can maintain their own personal details, have access to company policies and procedures and other important information. They will also have access to Learning online, receive Company announcements, complete performance reviews online and much more. EI Payroll and Employment Hero was built here in Australia and empower SMEs by providing automated solutions for employee management and engagement, payroll and employee benefits. Check out Employment Hero at Performance Management System In my experience as a HR professional working across the SME industry, the number one pain point is employee performance. Often there is either no review process and employees simply miss out on getting any feedback and development or the process in place is all-encompassing, inconsistent and often has little impact in improving performance. Having a high performing team and maximising the return on your investment is going to be key to future proofing your business. Ultimately your business is only as good as the people in it. A performance management system does not need to be complex, time consuming and about filling out paperwork – these do not work! What a performance management system needs to achieve is a culture of learning and development through constructive feedback, encouragement and mentoring, empowering people to take responsibility to achieve great things and recognising and fostering talent. It also needs to cater for those who are not doing a good job and work with them to improve or exit the business. Workforce Restructures Many SME’s grow organically and as a result may reach stages of growth where the organisational structure becomes ineffective. Often the resources you employee in the early days of growth are not the resources you need later. You may experience the constant exiting of staff who no longer suit the needs of the business, replacing them with new resources to accommodate the needs of the business for that moment in time. This can be a very costly and stressful way to grow your business. Now is the perfect time to set up an organisational structure to accommodate your future growth. Ideally you want to build a structure of your organisation to ensure you govern the workflow of your company making it easier to add new positions and provide flexibility and ready means for growth. TIP Create an organisational structure where team members are the “doers” and the leaders are the “enablers”. The leader of a team does not necessarily need to be the expert in the product or service the team members are delivering. Too often I see a high performing “doer” promoted to a leader, only to struggle in the leadership role. A team leader or manager should be an expert in leadership where they can effectively resource against demand and budget, they have strong commercial acumen to be able to understand the bigger picture, they can mentor and develop people, they have an ability to empower people to take ownership and responsibility and do not micromanage staff, they are very effective communicators and not afraid to deal with issues and challenges as they occur. Have HR policies that protect your business Often HR policies and procedures are either out of date or absent in the workplace making it difficult to consistently embrace any action or decision when an employee event or issue arises. Having well written, up-to-date policies creates an environment of assure uniformity of action throughout the business. They provide managers a guideline by which they can effectively manage employees. They also provide tools to communicate the standards and responsibilities of your employee’s and what they can come to expect of your business. Over the last few years there have been many changes across the Industrial Relations landscape, and these changes should be reflected in your HR policies and procedures to ensure compliance is adhered to. Updating Employment Contracts Every single employee in your business requires an employment contract and if they are not carefully drafted, you run the risk of ambiguity and failure to meet legal requirements. If any issues do arise, an ambiguous contract could prove very costly down the track. Recently, the Fair Work Commission handed down a decision for annualised wages as part of its four-yearly review of modern awards The decision requires employers to comply with certain new modern award annualised wage clauses from 1 March 2020. This means employers must ensure that an appropriate set-off clause is included in the employment contracts for those employees, which covers and specifies all award entitlements for the employees for all hours worked. Now might be a good time to review and re-issue new employment contracts that detail new legislative changes. How can we assist Essential HR in partnership with Employment Innovations are leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium-sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, outsourcing payroll, payroll software, human resource management & HR software. We can assist you to build a better business ready to thrive post COVID 19. Contact me directly at

Covid-19 JobKeeper payment

Today the Morrison government announced around 6 million workers will receive a fortnightly payment of $1,500 (before tax) through their employer. This is to assist businesses to retain their employees and help rebuild business once the Covid 19 crisis is over. For more information click this link

Changes to the Clerks Award flexibility during the coronavirus outbreak

The Fair Work Commission has inserted a temporary Schedule l effective from an employees first full pay cycle on or after 28th March 2020 until 30 June 2020. The changes affected are: 1. employees’ classifications and duties 2. minimum engagement/pay for part-time and casual employees 3. span of hours changes while working at home 4. full-time and part-time employees' hours of work 5. directions to take annual leave. 1. Employee Classifications and Duties Employers can direct their employees to do any tasks that they have the skill, competency, qualifications and licences for, even if those tasks aren’t in their usual classification or normal work. If an employee is directed to work above their usual classification for more than one day, the employer needs to pay them at the higher rate. Employees who do tasks below their usual classification are still paid at their usual pay rate. 2. Minimum engagement/pay for part-time and casual employees Part-time employees who have agreed to work from home can have their minimum engagement reduced to 2 hours per shift (rather than 3 hours) and casual employees who have agreed to work from home must be paid for a minimum of 2 hours (rather than 3 hours). 3. Span of hours while working from home Where an employee is working from home the span of hours has changed to: 6am and 11pm, Monday to Friday 7am and 12.30pm, Saturday. 4. Hours of work for full-time and part-time employees Employers can temporarily reduce their permanent employee’s hours of work to not less than 75% of their full-time ordinary hours or agreed part-time hours immediately prior to the reduction. There needs to be a least 75% of staff (in the business or section of the business affected) to vote yes to a reduction in hours of work. The employer needs to follow these steps for the vote to be valid: If any employee is a known member of a union, let the union know about the vote. Provide the employees with the contact details for the Australian Services Union (ASU), f they wish to contact the ASU for advice. Email about the vote and provide the employees' private email addresses. The Commission will email the employees the ASU COVID-19 Information Sheet. Hold a vote at least 24 hours after they have followed steps 1-3. Any employee who has had their hours reduced can ask their employer for permission to: find more work with another employer access training, professional development and study leave through their employer. An employer can’t unreasonably refuse an employee’s request for find other work. An employer must also consider all reasonable requests for training, professional development or study leave. Employees working reduced hours under Schedule I will continue to accumulate their paid leave and termination of employment entitlements based on their ordinary hours of work before the reduced the hours started. An employer and employee can also individually agree in writing to reduce the employee's hours. 5. Direction to take Annual Leave Employers can direct an employee to take annual leave, giving 1 weeks’ notice (a shorter notice is allowed where both parties agree). Where a business is closing down for a period due to coronavirus and an employee does not have enough paid leave entitlements, all or part of the leave can be taken as unpaid leave. However, any period of unpaid leave is to count as service for entitlements under the Clerks Award and National Employment Standards. If the business isn't closing, the employer can only direct an employee to take annual leave if the: employee still has at least 2 weeks of leave left after the direction employer considers the employee's personal situation. For help in re-organising your work force to cope with the coronavirus affects on your business contact me directly at Further information can be found

Quick Overview of Redundancy Payments

When you are looking at terminating an employee by way of redundancy there are several factors you need to consider before taking action. Below is a quick overview, however, it is recommended to seek advice. Redundancy pay may vary depending on your Registered Agreement, applicable Modern Award and number and type of employees you have. When redundancy can be used as a way to terminate someone’s employment Ending someone’s employment by way of redundancy can be done when an employee's position is no longer required by an employer due to restructuring or operational changes in the employer's enterprise which renders their position unnecessary. Essentially the work or role is no longer required to be performed by any employee. Redundancy can also occur when an employer becomes insolvent or bankrupt. Restructuring and operational changes may occur when new technologies are introduced (ie a job is completed through the technology rather than a person), the business closes, has a decline in sales or production, the business relocates interstate or overseas or there is a restructure or reorganisation because a merger or takeover happens. Consulting with employees who may be affected All awards and registered agreements have a consultation process for when there are major changes to the workplace, such as redundancies. This consultation process should occur as soon as possible after the decision has been made to make changes. The consultation process may look like this: Written communication to affected staff regarding changes in the business, the reason for the major changes and the impact the changes may have on them. Invite those affected to attend a discussion around the changes and invite them to ask questions and suggest ideas about the changes. Consider any ideas and changes. See what other roles are an available across the business. Perhaps those affected could be offered a different position that matches their experience and qualifications? Should no other options be available, provide notice regarding the redundancy in writing and what the time frame will be. Include what they will be entitled to. Who are entitled to redundancy pay and how much? Most full time and part time employees who work for an organisation with 15 or more staff are entitled to redundancy pay based on years of continuous service. Employees who do not get redundancy pay are: employees whose period of continuous service with the employer is less than 12 months employees employed for a stated period of time, an identified task or project, a particular season employees terminated because of serious misconduct casual employees trainees engaged only for the length of the training agreement apprentices employees who work for a small business with less than 15 employees (some exceptions) Redundancy pay is on top of any notice periods and accrued entitlements such as annual leave and LSL. Employee's period of continuous service with the employer on termination Redundancy pay period At least 1 year but less than 2 years 4 weeks At least 2 years but less than 3 years 6 weeks At least 3 years but less than 4 years 7 weeks At least 4 years but less than 5 years 8 weeks At least 5 years but less than 6 years 10 weeks At least 6 years but less than 7 years 11 weeks At least 7 years but less than 8 years 13 weeks At least 8 years but less than 9 years 14 weeks At least 9 years but less than 10 years 16 weeks At least 10 years 12 weeks Before calculating redundancy pay make sure you check the applicable Registered Agreement and Award as redundancy pay may vary. For example, under the Building and Construction General On-site Award, the minimum redundancy pay is different. Also note where an organisations is considering making redundant 15 or more employees, you must give written notification to the Department of Human Services. Essential HR in partnership with Employment Innovations are leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium-sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, outsourcing payroll, payroll software, human resource management & HR software.

Payroll compliance is a very serious matter!

Whether you are a large corporation or a small family business, getting payroll right should be a priority. With a constant flow of companies being publicly prosecuted for underpaying employees, payroll compliance in Australia is under the spotlight. Navigating payroll laws, correctly interpreting the Modern Awards and National Employment Standards (NES) and keeping up with constant changes to legislation can be a challenge. Often small and medium sized businesses pass off the important payroll function to their Finance Officer or Administration/Practice Manager, who are not necessarily an expert in all facets of the field. They may not recognise that there are two main specialist requirements associated with payroll that often throws up the question, “Is payroll a Finance or HR function? The answer is, it is both. The knowledge and skills of a Finance specialist to successfully manage the payroll are: Working with numbers Interpreting taxation laws and legislation and keeping up with changes and updates Company superannuation Managing the chart of accounts Migrating the pay journal to the accounting platform Financial Reporting The knowledge and skills of a Human Resources Specialist to successfully manage the payroll are: Understanding company policy around paying staff Interpreting modern awards, entitlements and other employee related legislation such as terminations of employment Keeping abreast of legislation changes and updates Best practice concerning staff remuneration Dealing with privacy laws and confidentiality Dealing with equality regarding pay It is therefore a function that needs more than one specialist involved to achieve 100% payroll compliance. In this article we recommend 3 important ingredients to achieving payroll compliance. 1. Select the right Payroll Software It’s common for small to medium sized businesses to run their payroll through accounting packages such as MYOB or Xero. Unfortunately, the payroll features in most accounting packages are extremely limited and unsupported. They lack manager-level access to approve and create timesheets and leave requests, advanced payroll reporting, award interpretation, custom rule interpretation, employee scheduling and much more. They’re also labour intensive and require resources who are spot on in interpreting the law and legislation when it comes to paying your people. Many medium and large organisations tend to deploy software developed decades ago. These platforms are difficult to customise, lack automation, are a drain on internal servers and resources, are costly to implement and are limited in their ability to integrate with other platforms. Unless your payroll system is already integrated with your accounting system, you will either need to pay for integration, manipulate CSV files or manually enter your payroll data for your accounts. EVOLVING SYSTEMS Payroll software is constantly evolving - increasing the level of automation for repeatable rule-driven tasks and safeguarding your compliance obligations. These software advances provide greater efficiency, speed and integration, so it’s imperative to use the best tools in order to keep up. Access to the best platform could be the difference between a business surviving or perishing, particularly in high-growth situations where scalability is important. Available today are cloud-based payroll platforms that suit any sized business. They’re affordable and scalable and offer automation, built-in compliance and Application Programming Interface (API), which means they interface with other systems such as Xero, MYOB, QuickBooks and more. 2. Know your obligations around record keeping Small and medium sized businesses struggle keeping compliant records due to having a lack of systems and processes in place, and no dedicated resource to manage it. However, the Fair Work Act 2009 has strict rules and regulations around record keeping, including what details need to be displayed on payslips. Some examples of what records need to be kept in a private and secure location are: General employer’s and employee’s name employer’s ABN (if any) employee’s commencement date whether the employee is full-time, part time, or casual whether the employee is permanent or temporary. Pay pay rate paid to the employee gross and net amounts paid any deductions from the gross amount details of any incentive-based payment, bonus, loading, penalty rate, or other monetary allowance or separately identifiable entitlement paid. Hours of work any penalty rates or loadings paid to employees for overtime hours worked, including: the number of overtime hours worked by an employee during the day when the employee started and finished the overtime hours the hours an employee works if the employee is a casual or irregular part-time employee who is paid based on time worked a copy of the written agreement if an employer and employee have agreed to an averaging of the employee’s work hours. Leave any leave taken how much leave an employee has. If an employee is able to cash out annual leave, the employer has to keep: a copy of the agreement to cash out the amount of leave a record of how much was paid, the amount of leave cashed out and when the payment was made. Under an award, if an employer agrees for an employee to take annual leave in advance, the employer has to keep a copy of the agreement. The agreement has to say the amount of leave taken and the day the leave starts. Superannuation contributions amount paid pay period date(s) paid name of super fund reason the employer paid into the fund (eg a record of the employee’s super fund choice and the date they made that choice). If employers pay a defined benefit interest into a defined benefit fund, employers don’t have to include these contributions in the record. Individual flexibility agreements If an employer and employee agree to an individual flexibility agreement under an award or registered agreement, a record must include both: a copy of the written agreement a copy of any notice or agreement to terminate the flexibility agreement. Guarantee of annual earnings the guarantee the date the guarantee was cancelled (where applicable). Ending employment how the employment was terminated agreement, summarily, or in some other way (specifying details) if notice was provided and, if so, how much the name of the person who terminated the employment. Transfer of business Where there has been a transfer of business, the old employer has to give the new employer records of any transferring employee. The new employer also has to ask for employment records from the old employer for any transferring employee who becomes an employee within three months of the sale. Time and wage record must be kept for 7 years. If records aren't kept or are incorrect, Fair Work Inspectors can give employers a fine, called an infringement notice. If you are feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment, don’t be! There are affordable payroll and HR platforms available, designed to help small and medium sized businesses store all their employee records in a central location, as well as collect, issue and maintain compliant records. 3. Be selective with who you have set up and manage your payroll You can have the best payroll platform in place; however, you still need expertise in setting it up and managing. Many non-compliance issues are due to incorrect set up in payroll and in some cases the errors go back for years. 3 Common areas for errors include: 1) Pay codes: Pay codes determine entitlements, tax, super, and in most cases payroll tax liability, and Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting. Common areas for errors include when to use categories as ordinary hours, associated accruals or Superannuation Guarantee Contributions (SGC) to those categories and when something is considered an allowance. Similarly, whether allowances are subject to SCG and more recently STP reporting rules are often incorrectly setup. 2) Deductions/back payments: These have a direct impact on employee’s taxable earnings, Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting and tax amount. As we know deductions can be before or after tax and there are specific rules surrounding the treatment of deductions/back payments that should not be ignored. 3) Leave code/category: They determine the accrual rate and entitlement period. The leave code/category should at least meet the national minimum standards or state/territory minimum for Long Service Leave (LSL). Correctly determining whether a leave category is paid or unpaid is a common oversight. As you can see there is a lot that can go wrong with the setup. If non-compliant, it could lead to inaccurate leave accruals, superannuation errors, under/overtaxing employees, not meeting your company payroll tax or reporting obligations, among others. Rectifying these errors will cost companies money, resources and reputation. Essential HR in partnership with Employment Innovations are leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium-sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, outsourcing payroll, payroll software, human resource management & HR software.

Retail Industry Award changes effective 1 March 2020

The Fair Work Commission has made amendments to the Retail Industry Award that will see initial changes come into effect on 1 March 2020. There will be further amendments later in the year and again in 2021. These revisions will affect both casual and permanent employees. What are the changes for casual employees? Currently, casual employees that worked after 6:00 pm on Monday to Friday received a penalty payment of 35% loading (25% casual loading plus 10% penalty loading). As from the 1 March 2020, these penalty payments will increase to 40%. From 1 October 2020 the penalty payment will increase to 45% and then to 50% from 1 March 2021. Where casuals work a Saturday, from the first full pay cycle after 1 March the penalty will increase to 50% (currently 45%) There will be further changes to casual shift workers’ rates of pay from 1 July 2020 onwards (a reduction from a 115% loading to a 100% loading). Note: Each of these rates includes the employees’ casual loading. Note: any changes to pay rates commence from the start of a new pay period after the effective date. What are the changes for permanent employees? Effective 1 July 2020, non-shift workers that work hours on a Sunday will receive an additional 50% loading. (currently the penalty is 65% so this will be a decrease) Shift workers who work on a Sunday will receive an additional loading of 75%. (currently the penalty is a 90% loading, so again this is a decrease). About Essential HR Essential HR recognise that many small to medium sized businesses in Adelaide do not have internal HR resources. We have developed cost effective and scalable solutions to suit any business needs. We deliver our solutions with a focus on systems & processes, compliance, performance and retention, aligning company goals with best practice HR strategies. What sets us apart from traditional HR consulting is we are powered by Employment Innovations, meaning we can offer additional support and services including outsourced payroll processing, HR and IR legal advice and HR/payroll technology, such as Employment Hero and Keypay.

Important Changes – method of accruing and taking personal/carers leave

On 21 August 2019, the Full Federal Court of Australia handed down a decision in Mondelez Australia Pty Ltd v AMWU. The decision deals with the method of accruing and taking paid personal/carer’s leave for the purposes of the National Employment Standards under the Fair Work Act 2009. The decision said that: full-time and part-time employees each get 10 days of paid sick and carer’s leave for every year of employment paid sick and carer’s leave accumulates in days, not hours. The Australian Government and the company involved in the case, Mondelez Australia Pty Ltd, applied to the High Court of Australia to appeal this decision. The High Court granted these applications on 13 December 2019. This means an appeal of the Mondelez decision will be heard by the High Court. In the meantime, the decision made on 21 August 2019 is the current state of the law and applies to affected employers and employees. What are the changes? Full-time and part-time employees are entitled to 10 working days of paid personal/carer’s leave for each year of employment. The leave must be calculated in working days and not hours as it previously was. A working day is defined as the portion of a 24-hour period that an employee would be working. For example, where an employee is rostered on 12 hour shifts, and they take personal/carer’s leave for the whole shift, then 1 day is deducted from their personal/carer’s leave accrual, not 12 hours or 7.6 hours. For every day of personal/carer’s leave taken, an employer deducts a day from the employee’s accrued leave balance. If an employee takes a part-day of leave, an equivalent part-day is deducted from the employee’s accrued leave balance. How can you implement the changes? You will need to make changes to your payroll platform settings from accruing in hours to accruing in days. For example, the accrual rate should now be 0.02739726 days or 0.0273224 days (in a leap year). You will also need to ensure when employees take personal/carers leave that the system deducts a day or part day from the employee’s balance. For an employee who works 38 hours a week, 7.6 hours a day, 5 days a week the change is reasonable simple. However, where you have employees who work part-time or do shift work, it will be much more complex, particularly where there is no rostering system or set standard hours per day. For example, you employ a part-time employee who does not have a set roster in place where they work standard hours on particular days of the week. Without this structure in place it will be difficult to manage the accruals and deductions properly. How can we help? Having the right payroll platform and employment contracts in place will be fundamental to implementing these changes successfully. Essential HR recognise that many small to medium sized businesses in Adelaide do not have internal HR resources. We have developed cost effective and scalable solutions to suit any business needs. We deliver our solutions with a focus on systems & processes, compliance, performance and retention, aligning company goals with best practice HR strategies. What sets us apart from traditional HR consulting is we are powered by Employment Innovations, meaning we can offer additional support and services including payroll processing, legal advice and HR/payroll technology, such as Employment Hero and Keypay. For a free consultation contact me

Changes to Modern Awards - annualised salaries

Commencing 1 March 2020, the Fair Work Commission will implement changes to 18 Modern Awards as part of the four-yearly review. If you have employees paid an annual wage or salary, these changes may affect you. The changes relate to how employees on annualised wages are paid and reported on, including employer obligations surrounding record-keeping, payment of entitlements, annual reconciliations and notifying or agreeing on the employee’s salary. ‍ Below is a summary of what awards are affected, what the changes are and recommendations on how to implement into your workplace. 1. What awards are affected? A list of the modern awards that will be affected is set out below, Awards where the employer is able to pay an annual salary under the annualised salary provisions in awards WITHOUT employee agreement Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2010 Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010 Contract Call Centres Award 2010 Hydrocarbons Industry (Upstream) Award 2010 Legal Services Award 2010 Mining Industry Award 2010 Oil Refining and Manufacturing Award 2010 (clerical employees only) Salt Industry Award 2010 T Telecommunications Services Award 2010 Water Industry Award 2010 Wool Storage, Sampling and Testing Award 2010 Awards where the employer is able to pay an annual salary under the annualised salary provisions in awards BUT ONLY WHERE EMPLOYEE AGREES Broadcasting and Recorded Entertainment Award 2010 Local Government Industry Award 2010 Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010 Oil Refining and Manufacturing Award 2010 (non-clerical employees) Pharmacy Industry Award 2010 Rail Industry Award 2010 Horticulture Award Pastoral Award 2010 Awards where the new requirements will be introduced at a later date (which is yet to be determined) – employer able to pay an annual salary under the annualised salary provisions in awards BUT ONLY WHERE EMPLOYEE AGREES Health Professionals Award 2010 Awards where the new requirements will be introduced at a later date (which is yet to be determined). Where an annual salary is paid to a non-managerial employee this must be BY AGREEMENT. The annual salary must be an amount not less than a specified percentage above the minimum weekly wage set out in the modern award. Marine Towage Award 2010 Restaurant Industry Award 2010 Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 2. What the changes are! While there will be slight differences between awards, all will require a written record of: The annualised salary you pay. Which provisions of the award you satisfy by paying the annualised salary. The method you used to calculate the annualised salary, including the methods used to calculate each component such as overtime and penalty assumptions. Overtime hours which the employee may have to work. Timesheet start and finish times (including any unpaid breaks) that employees must then sign or acknowledge stating the records are correct.
‍ Employers will also be required to conduct annual employee audits from the commencement of the annualised salary arrangement or upon the termination of the individual’s employment. The audit must calculate the amount of remuneration the employee would have received had they been paid in accordance with the award provisions. Any shortfall identified in the audit must be paid to the employee within 14 days. It’s important to understand that failure to comply with these new changes will be treated just like any other breach of a Modern Award, meaning employers may be subject to significant penalties if they fail to comply.
‍ 3. Recommendations on how to implement into your workplace Implement Payroll Software that keeps up with changes, has in-built awards and pay conditions rules, online timesheets and leave management, and can easily produce reports and data you need, such as data to conduct an annual audit. Essential HR, powered by Employment Innovations provides template documents that will meet the new documentation requirements in all the modern awards affected. This will be available free of charge to all our clients on Essential, Professional and HR Partner subscriptions (which all include unlimited access to HR documents). The changes to annualised salary provisions are complex. Essential HR and Employment Innovations offer products and services that can make the transition easy and stress free. To find out more visit or drop us an email at

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