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Are you across the employment law changes that started 1 July?

Newsletter 24 August 2017

With the start of the new year in the world of business a number of important workplace changes have come into effect.

In this article we look at some of the key changes that may affect those working in Aged Care.  If you would like any further detail or need assistance to make changes to your workplace documents or practises, please contact our Employment, IR and Workplace Health & Safety Team.

Increase to minimum wage rates

In accordance with the Fair Work Commission’s 2017 annual wage review decision, the following changes took effect to minimum wages for national system workers from the first full pay period on, or after 1 July 2017:

  • All modern award minimum wage rates increased by 3.3% - this will require proportionate increases to minimum hourly rates of pay and award-based annualised salaries;
  • The adult national minimum hourly wage rate for permanent employees increased by $0.59 to $18.29 and the weekly minimum wage increased from $672.70 to $694.90 (an increase of $22.20 per week).

The casual loading for the majority of employees remains at 25%.

Changes to high income threshold and maximum compensation  for unfair dismissal applications

The high income threshold for the purposes of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) is indexed annually from 1 July, and this year increases from $138,900 to $142,000. This amount includes the employees’ wages and the pre-agreed value of non-monetary benefits such as the personal use of an employer provided motor vehicle, but does not include commissions, bonuses or overtime an employee might have earned. Employer superannuation guarantee contributions are not included in the calculation of an employee’s remuneration for this purpose.

Consequently the maximum amount the Fair Work Commission can order in compensation for an unfair dismissal claim will increase to $71,000.  

New Fair Work Information Statement

National system employers are required to give each new employee a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement before or as soon as practicable after the person starts employment. A new version of the Statement takes effect on 1 July and is available from

Failure to give the Statement, or the current version of it to new employees, is a breach of the National Employment Standards, and may attract a financial penalty.

Increases to civil penalties

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), civil penalty provisions relate to single breaches of the National Employment Standards, modern awards or enterprise agreements, general protections of workplace rights and other employee protections, right of entry and industrial action.

The maximum civil penalties for all contraventions that occur on or after 1 July 2017 will increase as follows:

  • For corporate contraveners – from $54,000 per breach to $63,000;  and
  • For individual contraveners – from $10,800 per breach to $12,600.

Depending upon your individual circumstances, your aged care facility may not need to take immediate action in response to these workplace changes. If you are unsure what changes you need to make, or you have an employment law query, please contact the TressCox Lawyers Employment, IR & Workplace Safety Team to discuss.

Peta Tumpey, Partner

Vanessa James-McPhee, Senior Associate

Keely Horan, Senior Associate


Newsletter 24 August 2017
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