There’s often a lot of changes that come into effect at the start of a new financial year and this one is no different.
Some of the changes that will affect businesses across Australia are summarised below.
Paid Parental Leave
From 1 July, businesses will be required to provide Parental Leave Pay to eligible long-term employees who have or adopt a child from this date. Centrelink will contact you if you're required to provide Parental Leave Pay to an employee. You will then be required to register for the scheme.
Once you’ve registered, funds for Paid Parental Leave will be provided to you before your employee’s usual pay cycle. Your employee can choose to receive Parental Leave Pay before, after, or at the same time as employer-provided paid leave such as recreation leave and employer-provided parental leave.
For more information and how to register online, see our Paid Parental Leave topic.
Increases to minimum wage
As part of the annual review Fair Work Australia conducts on wages for employees covered by the national workplace relations system, there are new increases to wages that will take effect from 1 July 2011.
The changes include increases to:
- modern award weekly wages by 3.4%
- the national minimum wage for adults to $589.30 per week, or $15.51 per hour
- allowances under applicable modern awards
- minimum rates for juniors, apprentices and trainees.
The wage increases must be paid from the first pay period on or after 1 July.
For more information on the wage increases and who they apply to, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
A Temporary Flood and Cyclone Reconstruction Levy (flood levy) will apply to individuals for the 2011-12 income year. If you have employees with an income over $50 000 in this financial year, they will have to pay the flood levy.
To assist you in calculating how much tax you will need to withhold, the flood levy will be incorporated into the new withholding tax tables you use to withhold amounts from their salary or wage.
If any of your employees are exempt from the levy they may wish to lodge a Flood levy exemption declaration to lower their withholding. There are also tax tables available for you to use for those employees who are exempt and have lodged the declaration, or they can be refunded by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) of any overpaid levy when they lodge their 2011-12 tax return.
For more information on the flood levy, visit the ATO website.
Amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act 1984
You should be mindful of the recent amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act which take effect from 1 July. The changes prohibit discrimination on the basis of family responsibilities for both men and women in all areas of employment, and establish breast-feeding as a separate ground of discrimination.
You will need to make sure you introduce measures to accommodate the needs of breast-feeding mothers in order to comply with the new amendments from 1 July.
Other changes include prohibiting sexual harassment by the use of new technologies such as the internet, social networking sites and mobile phones.
For more information on the changes, visit the Australian Human Rights Commission website.
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