Living in Australia can mean experiencing a range of natural disasters, such as floods, bushfires, tropical cyclones, thunderstorms or even earthquakes. Events such as these can cause distress and devastation to communities and financial hardship for individuals or business.
Employees may have entitlements specified under their relevant award or agreement stating whether or not they have to work due to an emergency or natural disaster. If the relevant award does not hold such an entitlement than keep reading to see what options are available to employees and employers depending on the circumstances.
What if an employer must temporarily close?
In the instance of an employer having to temporarily shut down due to natural disaster or emergency, employers will need to determine what their employees entitlements are. The Fair Work Act 2009 allows employers to stand down employees when there is no useful work for them to do. However, this can only happen if the reason for standing down employees is out of the employers control. This stand down may be unpaid however an employer may choose to pay employees instead.
These stand down provisions only apply when an employee’s award, agreement or employment contract don’t contain stand down provisions that deal with the same circumstances.
If an employer does stand down employees, its best practice to tell those employees in writing (where possible), including:
Employees should also be kept up to date with when employers believe the stand down will end.
Are there alternatives to standing down employees?
Alternatives to standing down employees without pay include –
Can employees take leave to take care of themselves or their family?
Employees may require time off to care for themselves or their family. Fair Work states that,
“If an employee is injured during a flood or bushfire they may be entitled to personal leave. An employee would also be eligible for personal/carer’s leave if their child’s school closed due to a natural disaster or emergency.”
“Employees who have used all of their paid personal/carer’s leave entitlement, and casual employees, are entitled to two days unpaid carer’s leave per occasion to provide care and support to a family or household member due to illness, injury or in the event of an unexpected emergency.”
“All employees are entitled to two days of compassionate leave to spend time with a member of their immediate family or household who has sustained a life-threatening illness or injury. Compassionate leave may also be taken after the death of a member of the employee’s immediate family or household. Employees (other than casual employees) are entitled to be paid for periods of compassionate leave.”
Notice and evidence requirements
“The National Employment Standards (NES) require an employee to notify their employer when they take personal/carer’s leave or compassionate leave. The employer, after being notified, may require the employee to provide evidence to support the leave period.
For example, an employer may request that the employee provide a medical certificate.”
You can find more information by searching Fair Work Ombudsmen, or by following this link
To streamline your payroll solution – contact PaysOnline for a customised quote today.
Information taken from Fair Work Ombudsmen
Following a recent Fair Work Commission decision, from the 1 August 2018 employees under an industry or occupation award will be eligible to take five (5) days unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence issues.
All industry and occupation awards will be updated shortly to include the new clause, which allows employees (including casuals) to take unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence issues if required and it is impractical to do so outside their ordinary hours of work.
Whilst most employees will have access to this leave, those who fall under an Enterprise Award or State reference public sector award are not able to apply for this leave. However, they may be entitled to other paid or unpaid entitlements under their award to access for these such circumstances.
Employees are entitled to the full 5 days of leave from the day they begin employment as it does not build up over time. The 5 days renew after every 12 months but doesn’t accumulate from year to year if unused.
If, in the instance that a business provides paid or unpaid family and domestic violence leave to employees through a signed contract and the amount stated is less than the new minimum, then the amount in the updated award will apply.
An employer may request evidence which demonstrates that the employee took the leave to deal with issues arisen from family and domestic violence. Types of evidence can include:
Due to the sensitive nature surrounding the leave, employers should be aware that information regarding an employee’s experience of family or domestic violence is confidential and, if handled poorly, could result in adverse consequences for the employee. Furthermore, it may be necessary to review how business’ record the leave on pay slips and timesheets.
You can read more about the new Family and Domestic Violence leave on the Fair Work Commission website – here
The Queensland Government’s Industrial Relations Act 2016 offers ten (10) days of paid domestic and family violence leave to employees – here.
Enterprise Awards and State Reference Public Sector Awards – here
Privacy and the access of sensitive information has been highly topical recently particularly in regards to the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, which has been making headlines worldwide.
As technology progresses, the use of biometric time keeping has become increasingly popular within the workforce as employers move to streamline business procedures. As citizens living and consuming within a technological environment, we are becoming more aware than ever about how data is stored, accessed, and handled, and perhaps even a little suspicious as to how our own data is being used.
Easy-to-use and cost effective – it is clear why many businesses are making the switch to biometric time and attendance systems. Despite this, a change of any internal procedure can cause concern among staff and with the addition of biometric data it is only natural to have a few questions. Below we have answered a few common queries related to biometric fingerprint scanners and how the information is stored.
A common concern of biometric terminal use is whether fingerprints are stored or not, and if access to this data could potentially lead to fraudulent activity. Rather than storing an image of an employee’s fingerprint the data is converted and recorded as a binary file (binary files are usually thought of as being a sequence of bytes, which means the binary digits (bits) grouped in eights). Each time an employee subsequently scans their fingerprint to clock in or out, the information is transferred as an algorithm and compared to the stored binary file. The data recorded in the system cannot be converted into a usable representation of the fingerprint so you can rest assured that the enrolment data will not put your personal details at risk of a breach.
We’ve all seen the films depicting thieves or spies who could seemingly break into rooms by fooling biometric systems. Whilst older systems could – and in some cases – be manipulated, modern biometric systems are able to distinguish between human flesh and other organic or synthetic materials. Modern multispectral imaging also records the structure of the fingerprint, dictating the external ridges. This means that the the internal details are compared to the print itself ensuring a correct matches.
Whilst you may be sold on the idea of implementing biometric systems into your business, your employees may not be completely comfortable. Keeping staff informed can assist in removing any concerns they may have, along with an explanation on why you intend on implementing the biometric terminals.
PaysOnline’s Biometric Time and Attendance solution is easy-to-use and cost effective. With a choice between three different terminals – fingerprint scanner, palm scanner or facial scanner – you’re sure to find a fit for your business. Request a meeting with one of our specialists to explore the PaysOnline solution.
Following an increase in recent fraudulent activity, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) warns professionals and their clients to the potential email scams trying to mimic ATO correspondence.
The email, which utilises the tax office’s letterhead and email address similar to those used by the ATO, asks people to complete an online ‘tax form’ via a link that contains malware.
The ATO has advised a list of tell-tale signs that the email may be malicious, these include: the email does not have an @ato.gov.au sender address, the clients are not specifically named, and generally demonstrate poor grammar. Whilst many people believe they wouldn’t fall victim to such scams, similar emails from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) last year almost fooled some Self Managed Super Funds (SMSFs) and advice professionals.
With cyber fraud becoming more prominent in the media, tax professionals are urged to tighten their processes with the introduction of the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) Scheme.
The scheme, which commenced on the 22nd February, requires agencies, organisations and certain other entities to provide notice to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and affected individuals of the data breach.
The scheme covers accountants and tax professionals who deal with tax file numbers, along with those who have an annual turnover of more than $3 million.
You can find more information in regards to the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) Scheme by following the link — Here
Keep up-to-date with the Australian Taxation Office Scam Alerts — Here
Review the PaysOnline Data Breach Policy — Here
457 visa crackdown for fast food industry
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton has ended the Fast Food Industry Labour Agreement which saw hundreds of foreign workers take jobs at fast food outlets across Australia.
“Australian workers, particularly young Australians, must be given priority,” Mr Dutton said.
“The Coalition Government is committed to implementing reforms that strengthen Australia’s skilled migration programme to ensure overseas workers supplement rather than provide a substitute for Australian workers.
“Businesses can still make requests under normal labour agreement arrangements to ensure that exceptional circumstances can be considered.
“Genuine business needs for overseas workers which contribute to economic growth will still be considered.”
More than 500 skilled worker visas have been approved for fast-food outlets over the past four years.
Fast food businesses will no longer be able to bring in foreign workers on 457 visas under arrangements approved by the Gillard Labor Government in 2012.
The workers will be forced to leave Australia once their agreements run out unless the restaurant is able to present an individual case as to why they should remain in the country.
It is the first time an entire sector has been banned from using the visas.
Employers will be paid up to $15,000 to hire workers in a plan to boost jobs in regional Queensland.
A $100 million “Back to Work” regional employment package, unveiled in Tuesday’s state budget, will also help the unemployed access subsidised courses to help them get jobs.
Another $180 million will be pumped into significant infrastructure projects to help curb high unemployment in the regions.
“I know that regional Queensland is hurting,” she said on Tuesday.
“I’ve sat in rooms, I’ve listened to people who have lost their jobs at QNI (Queensland Nickel), I’ve spoken to the men and women who want to get back into work.”
More than 800 people were sacked from Clive Palmer’s Queensland Nickel refinery in Townsville, which went into voluntary administration in January.
It was a major blow for the northern city, which has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 12 per cent.
It’s among the Queensland regions which have bled more than 20,000 jobs in the resources sector in the past two years due to low commodity prices.
The “Back to Work” package aims to help 8000 regional Queenslanders gain employment.
It includes support payments of up to $10,000 for employers who hire, and keep someone employed, for 12 months.
The payment increases to up to $15,000 if the employer hires a long-term unemployed person.
The state budget also aimed to create jobs by delivering $180 million for the Significant Regional Infrastructure Program, which will fund a new paediatrics wing at Townsville Hospital and a major bridge project in Cairns.
Another $175m is included for the Building Our Regions program, grants and funding to local councils.
Drought-hit farmers will also get a financial boost with $77.9 million in the budget for a Rural Assistance and Drought package.
© AAP 2016
For most, when we hear the word “outsource” we immediately think of off shored, cheap labor, exploiting our fellow human-beings in a land far away. Or, we think of the last time we tried calling our telco or bank to ask a simple question, only to be passed around from consultant to consultant, all of whom don’t seem to know what exactly our challenge is or whom do not have a supervisor available.
Many organisations that outsource certain business processes don’t just do this for a cost-cutting exercise. More often than not, these organisations require expert knowledge in very specific areas. For example, IT consultants.
These clever cookies are:
Experts in their field
Usually are required to work on short-term projects
Quote by days/charge by days
Can provide a scope of what is required, the time required to complete this & technical support after the fact
Another reason why some businesses outsource tasks is for risk-sharing purposes. Being able to shift certain responsibilities to a vendor helps the business to alleviate some of the risk associated with the task. A risk analysis prior to the engagement of a third party is a very crucial factor when determining which vendor will be completing the work.
Staffing flexibility is another objective achieved through outsourcing. Businesses that experience seasonal or cyclical demands (accountants during tax season?) use third parties to meet those demands, allowing the business to release the staff when they are done.
Another reasons why outsourcing can be a good thing: having on-site outsourcing staff with a specific skill set, working alongside your internal staff can also provide a wealth of knowledge and professional development opportunities for your employees and by outsourcing certain business components (such as payroll), organisations can better allocate their resources to strengthen its core business processes.
Most of us don’t fix our own car, we engage an expert. So why is the word “outsource” still such a dirty word?
The tax office has released more information on the government’s plan to give the commissioner of taxation statutory remedial powers to modify the operation of taxation law.
The new powers will also mean “reduced regulatory burden, more certainty and better outcomes for taxpayers”. In a statement, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) said the statutory powers will aim to provide a “more timely resolution of certain legislative problems” and “flexibility in dealing with certain legislative problems which cannot be resolved by way of interpretation”.
Speaking to Accountants Daily’s sister publication, Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF) Adviser, AMP SMSF’s head of policy and technical, Peter Burgess, said the new powers might be used in a number of circumstances, including where there are “technical inconsistencies in the law resulting in unintended consequences”.
“This will give the commissioner the power to make modifications to the law without going through the full legislative change process,” he said.
Mr Burgess added that he hopes the new powers change the way commissioner’s discretion works in relation to the excess super contributions tax.
“Under the current law, if someone exceeds their contributions cap they can apply to the commissioner for discretion to have that excess amount either disregarded or re-allocated but it does require the tax payer to show special circumstances exist,” he said.
“Most people in the industry agree that the special circumstance requirement is very onerous and perhaps doesn’t provide the protection that the law was intended to provide in terms of people inadvertently breaching the caps.”
While some may disregard the issue of discretion, given the new refunding rules for contributions SMSF trustees are still better off getting the discretion to have the excess amount re-allocated or disregarded since they avoid having to pay additional charges, Mr Burgess said.
“I think [the new powers] are a good news story for the industry: it’s all about providing more certainty and reducing complexity,” he said.
(Source – Accountants Daily)
A new study is shedding light on the type of employees who are most likely to lie about being sick and – shock – it seems younger workers are the worst offenders.
According to the survey by insurance firm RIAS, workers over the age of 50 are almost four times less likely to lie about being ill than their younger colleagues.
The survey revealed that, over the past five years, 44% of workers aged 20-39 had lied to their boss about being ill to get time off – compared with just 12% of those over 50.
Out of the 2,000 working adults surveyed, nearly a third of under-40s saw sick leave as an ‘additional holiday’ that they deserve – whereas only four% in the older category agreed.
But it’s not just attitudes that are vastly different – it appears over 50s are actually healthier, or at least more reluctant to take time off even under genuine illness.
In the past year, only a quarter of over-50s took days off work due to a genuine illness, compared with almost half of those aged 20-39. Among those who had taken a sick day after falling ill, a third of under-40s said this was due to a common cold, compared with one in ten older workers.
The survey also found that more than half of younger employees who had a sick day admitted taking off more time than necessary but only a tenth of older employees said the same.
RIAS suggested older workers were keen to make the “best impression” and hold on to their jobs as they approached retirement. The firm also said older employees may look after themselves better, resulting in fewer genuine sick days.
“Over-50s workers continue to be a vital part of the workforce and they should be recognised for the contribution they make,” said RIAS’ Peter Corfield. “They bring a wealth of experience, ambition and knowledge that cannot be underestimated,” he continued. “It is key that we understand that workers in their 50s and 60s are not ‘old’, they are hardworking and dedicated, and very much want to work.”
(SOURCE: HUMAN CAPITAL)
The government has released draft legislation to change the capital gains tax (CGT) treatment of the sale and purchase of businesses involving certain earn-out rights.
The draft follows the release of a discussion by the former government outlining possible approaches that would give effect to the measure.
One of the issues raised in subsequent consultations was how the proposed approaches would interact with some CGT concessions, especially small business CGT concessions, and whether these would be available without considerable complexity.
Treasury has said that to address these concerns, the exposure draft legislation takes a different approach where subsequent payment received by the seller will be treated as part of the original capital proceeds (with interest and penalties suspended).
This approach is fully consistent with the application of the existing CGT concessions framework, Treasury said.
BDO tax partner Mark Molesworth welcomed the move and said that although the draft legislation was long overdue, it was a positive step towards helping resolve some of the complex taxation outcomes that have burdened thousands of business sale transactions to date.
“When a buyer and seller cannot agree on the appropriate value of the assets of a business they often enter into an earnout arrangement under which payments for the business are linked to the future performance of the business assets,” Mr Molesworth said.
“However, the taxation treatment that has been applied to these arrangements has been complex and has given rise to unfair outcomes for taxpayers.”
Mr Molesworth warned taxpayers to consider their circumstances prior to business sales since the draft legislation was narrower than previous versions.
“The new draft legislation proposes a maximum time limit for earnout arrangements of four years, one year less than originally suggested,” he said.
“While today’s draft legislation is a promising sign of change, there does still appear to be some anomalies in the treatment of earnouts due to the restrictive way in which the proposal has been drafted.
“Moving forward, BDO encourages the federal government and ATO to comprehensively consult business and taxation experts on the appropriate treatment of such arrangements to deliver outcomes that are workable and effective for all parties involved.”