Many employment trends will come and go, but we’re feeling certain these factors will be the focus for many employers in the first 6 months of 2019. Our team at Workplace Central will continue to keep abreast of these factors and keep you up to date with any major decisions.
Single Touch Payroll
Employers with 20 or more employees should already be using an accounting or payroll system with Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting. STP sends tax and super information for all employees directly to the ATO when paying employees. For businesses with fewer than 20 employees, this should take place from 1 July 2019. We believe this will mean that more businesses will move to online rosters, timesheets and payroll processing. Although the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has assured small business owners that they won’t ‘have to’ move to an online system, this seems like an inevitable, positive result in any case. With the ATO working with software developers to create an online system to manage STP for $10 or less per month, for employers with 1-4 employees, online systems are here to stay.
We do expect many employees to be confused when they are advised by their employers that they won’t be providing an end of financial year payment summary (there are a couple of scenarios where this will still be necessary). This information should instead be available in their myGov account.
Casual Employment Changes
With the WorkPac v Skene judgment resulting in a casual employee receiving a payout of permanent employee entitlements, the Fair Work Regulations have recently been changed so an employee will be able to appeal having to pay workers twice for the same entitlement. I.e. the 25% casual loading paid would be offset against any claim for paid leave, where an employee has been incorrectly classified as a casual.
We also expect that there could be additional interest from some casual employees who are interested in converting to permanent employment. Many Modern Awards have now had a ‘casual conversion’ clause inserted, with employers required to provide a notice of these rights by 1 January 2019. This option is only available to casual employees who have worked a regular pattern of hours over the preceding 12 months, that could be relatively easily done by a permanent employee.
Federal Politics Promises
According to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) the latest possible date for a half-Senate and House of Representatives election is Saturday 18 May 2019. As usual, we expect both sides of politics to have a variety of promises for workplaces. The would likely include pushes for national labour hire licensing, productivity commission reviews, possible funding for training and apprenticeships and other employment-based initiatives. Without a crystal ball, we couldn’t possibly tell you which party would win, and from there, which campaign promises would make it through the parliamentary process to becoming law, but we’re confident that either way, the next Federal election will come with a variety of commitments to businesses and employees.