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Industrial Relations in Review May 2019

Annual Wage Review 2019

The Fair Work Commission have commenced the process to review the national minimum wage.

The current national minimum wage is $719.20/week or $18.93/hour. This rate applies to all award free employees. Casual employees also receive a 25% casual loading. For all other employees’ reference must be made to the applicable award and classification level that covers the work the employee performs.

Each year the Fair Work Commission through an expert panel made up of the president and 6 other members undertake a review of wages in Australia. The process involves

  • Written submissions from interested organisations and individuals
  • Consultations before the expert panel
  • Research commissioned by the expert panel

Any increase to the national minimum wage will impact wage rates in all awards. The Fair Work Commission is required to publish a decision prior to 1 July each year, with any increase effective from the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2019.

Liquid HR will ensure all clients are notified of any increases that are awarded.

For further information on the annual wage review click here.

Your Questions Answered

We have an award employee who has resigned. He has been employed with us for 2 and a half years, but he only provided 1 weeks’ notice. Can we withhold any money from him for not providing the required notice?

Withholding money from an employee’s final wage due to their failure to provide the appropriate notice is only allowed if the employee is covered by an award which allows this. For example under the Clerks Private Sector Award 2010, clause 13.1 (d) states:

“If an employee who is at least 18 years old does not give the period of notice required under paragraph (b),then the employer may deduct from wages due to the employee under this award an amount that is no more than one week’s wages for the employee.”

We recommend you check the applicable award that covers the employee to determine if it includes a similar provision. This clause would normally be found under the section ‘termination of employment’. It is important to note that you cannot deduct wages from annual leave owing to an employee due to their failure to provide the appropriate notice.

What’s the difference between a minimum employment period and a probationary period? All our employees have a 3-month probationary period in their contract, but the other day when I was researching, I found something about a 6-month minimum employment period, is this the same thing?

A probationary period is the term many organisations use to refer to a period where both the employee and employer can assess suitability. Usually during this period, either party can terminate the employment arrangement by providing 1 weeks’ notice.

On the other hand, the minimum employment period is the period under the Fair Work Act 2009 that an employee must complete before they can make an unfair dismissal claim. For employers with less than 15 employees, this period is 12 months. For employers with 15 or more employees, this period is 6 months. Due to these periods, employers usually have a probationary period that is the same as the minimum employment period.

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