In brief - On 1 July 2021, a number of changes to workplace laws commence that will impact on employers in a range of areas 

Employers need to be aware of the changes discussed in this article when determining wages, assessing unfair dismissal eligibility and workplace law compliance. Seek advice if unsure of your obligations.

Minimum wage increases

On 16 June 2021, the Fair Work Commission Minimum Wage Panel determined that from the first full pay period after 1 July 2021:

  • Minimum rates of pay for employees covered by modern awards will increase by 2.5%. For some modern awards, the 2.5% increase will be delayed until September and November 2021.

  • The national minimum wage for an award-free adult employee will increase to $772.60 per week, or $20.33 per hour.

  • The decision also impacts allowance and expense amounts referred to in modern awards.

Casual loadings

The casual loading in modern awards will remain at 25%

It is important that employers carefully examine casual working arrangements and separately identify casual loading amounts from base rates of pay in contracts of employment and payslips, to comply with the current reasoning in the WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84 decision, which is pending appeal in the High Court. 

Read our November 2020 article WorkPac vs Rossato - how employers can prepare for the outcome of the High Court decision for more information. 

Enterprise agreements

Employers who have an enterprise agreement in operation (even if it has passed its nominal expiry date) must ensure that the base rate of pay in the agreement does not result in any employee being paid less than the relevant modern award pay rate or, if no award applies, the national minimum wage.

Increase to the high-income threshold and compensation limit

In addition to increases to minimum wages, from 1 July 2021, two other important monetary figures will increase:

  1. The high-income threshold increases from $153,600 to $158,500. This amount affects how a modern award applies to an employee, and affects an employee’s access to the unfair dismissal jurisdiction of the Fair Work Commission.

  2. The compensation limit under unfair dismissal laws also increases from $76,800 to $79,250. The compensation limit is the maximum compensation available to an employee successful in an unfair dismissal claim.

Superannuation guarantee contributions 

The superannuation guarantee is legislated to increase from 9.5% to 10% on 1 July 2021. Employers will need to consider how this will impact the remuneration arrangements of their employees.

This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2022.

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