Important New Year changes for employers

“Employers should be aware of a number of important changes to payroll and other obligations with the start today of the new financial year,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, said today.

“The recent Fair Work Commission Annual Wage Review decision increased national minimum wages by 2.5%. For awards in most industries the increase is operative from the first full pay period that starts on or after 1 July 2021. For a small number of awards in the retail and hospitality industries, the increase will be operative later this year.

“Also, from 1 July the high-income threshold under the Fair Work Act increased to $158,500. If an employee is not covered by an award or enterprise agreement, they must have an annual rate of earnings less than the high income threshold in order to pursue an unfair dismissal case.

“From today, the Superannuation Guarantee will rise from 9.5 per cent to 10 per cent.

“The cap on concessional super contributions made into employees’ super funds will rise from $25,000 to $27,500 per annum from 1 July 2021. Employees who now only pay the amount up to the cap will need to be conscious of the higher cap and their ability to advise their employer if they wish to contribute the higher amount.

“Also, from 1 July the Superannuation Guarantee maximum contribution base will increase to $58,920 per quarter and $235,680 per year. Employers who do not pay beyond the maximum contributions base will need to be conscious of the higher amount.

“Other super changes will come into effect later this year following the passage of the Your Super Your Future bill. As part of this legislation, there will be a major change to superannuation arrangements in respect of new employees. These will apply from 1 November this year (rather than 1 July as was originally proposed) and will apply only in respect of new employees who do not actively choose a superannuation fund.

“From 1 November, employers will need to check with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) whether a new employee already has a superannuation fund and, if so, will be required to pay super contributions into the existing (“stapled”) account. Employers’ default accounts will only be relevant if the ATO confirms that employees do not already have a superannuation account.

“Finally, from today the tax rate for companies with an aggregated turnover under $50million will fall from 26% to 25%. For all other companies the tax rate will continue to be 30%,” Mr Willox said.

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