Australia: Holding Redlich expert guide to the new financial year 2018/2019 - Workplace Relations & Safety

Last Updated: 6 July 2018
Article by Charles Power

Most Read Contributor in Australia, October 2018

Superannuation Guarantee

An employer's obligation to make Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions on behalf of an employee in 2018-2019 remains at 9.5 per cent of the employee's ordinary time earnings up to the maximum super contribution base. The maximum limit on any individual employee's earnings base for each quarter of the 2018-2019 financial year is $54,030.

The Superannuation Guarantee amnesty that has been in place since 24 May 2018 will continue until 23 May 2019. Employers who voluntarily disclose previously undeclared shortfalls in SG contributions during this period will not be liable for the administration component and penalties that may otherwise apply to late SG payments. In addition, they will be able to claim a deduction for catch-up payments made in the 12-month period.

Employers will still be required to pay the unpaid SG amounts owed to employees and the nominal interest, as well as any associated general interest charge.

The Amnesty applies to previously undeclared SG shortfalls for any period from 1 July 1992 up to 31 March 2018, however it does not apply to the period starting on 1 April 2018 or subsequent periods.

If you are able to pay the full SG shortfall amount directly to your employees' super fund or (funds), then complete a payment form and submit it to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) electronically through the business portal.

If you are unable to pay the full SG shortfall amount directly to your employees' super fund or (funds), then complete and lodge a payment form and the ATO will contact you to arrange a payment plan. If you start payment before ATO contacts you, this will reduce the General Interest Charge.

Single Touch Payroll reporting starts from 1 July 2018

Employers with 20 or more employees will gradually start reporting to the ATO from their payroll software each time they pay their employees. Known as Single Touch Payroll or STP, employers will be reporting their employees' salaries and wages, pay as you go withholding and super information.

If you have 19 or fewer employees, you don't have to do anything yet. However, you can choose to report through STP if you use payroll software that is STP-enabled.

You need to update your software for STP.

The ETP cap amount for the 2018–19 income year is $205,000. The whole-of-income cap amount for the 2018–19 income year remains at $180,000.

Genuine redundancy and early retirement scheme payments are tax free up to a limit based on the employee's years of service. In 2018-2019 the tax-free limit is equal to $10,399, plus $5,200 multiplied by the years of service.

Unfair dismissal

From 1 July 2018 the high income threshold in unfair dismissal cases will increase to $145,400. The relevance of this threshold is:

  • if an employee's annual earnings exceed this threshold and they are not covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement they will not be able to bring an unfair dismissal claim
  • if an employee's annual earnings exceed this threshold you will be able to make a guarantee of annual earnings with him or her and preclude application of any modern award that would otherwise apply.

The compensation limit will be $72,700 for dismissals occurring on or after 1 July 2018. This is the maximum amount of compensation that can be awarded by the Fair Work Commission in an unfair dismissal claim.

Minimum wages

From the start of the employee's first full pay period commencing on or after 1 July 2018, the national minimum wage for award/agreement free employees is $719.20 per week. This is calculated on the basis of a week of 38 ordinary hours, or $18.93 per hour. Special rates apply for a junior employee, an employee to whom a training arrangement applies or an employee with a disability.

The casual loading for award/agreement free employees is 25 per cent.

For employees to whom a modern award or enterprise agreement applies, the statutory minimum wage will be set out in that instrument.

The 2016-2017 national minimum wage is $694.90 per week or $18.29 per hour.

Further reduction in penalty rates will apply for hospitality and retail employees for hours worked on Sundays as follows:

Modern award employees Sunday hourly rate - 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 Sunday hourly rate - 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019
Full-time and part-time employees - General Retail Industry Award 2010 and Pharmacy Industry Award 2010 195% of the base hourly rate 180% of the base hourly rate
Casual employees - General Retail Industry Award 2010 195% of the base hourly rate (inclusive of casual loading) 185% of the base hourly rate (inclusive of casual loading)
Casual employees - Pharmacy Industry Award 2010 220% of the base hourly rate (inclusive of casual loading) 205% of the base hourly rate (inclusive of casual loading)
Full-time and part-time employees - Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 170% of the base hourly rate 160% of the base hourly rate
Level 1 full-time and part-time employees – Fast Food Industry Award 2010 145% of the base hourly rate 135% of the base hourly rate
Level 1 casual employees - Fast Food Industry Award 2010 170% of the base hourly rate (inclusive of casual loading) 160% of the base hourly rate (inclusive of casual loading)

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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