Stop Press - more documents, more dollars: new worksheets & increased wages required under Work Choices

The long awaited Workplace Relations Fact Sheet has now arrived and from 1 October 2007 minimum wage rates are increased.

Workplace Relations Fact Sheet

TheWorkplace Relations Amendment (A Stronger Safety Net) Act 2007 requires all companies to give a Workplace Relations Fact Sheet to all employees.

After 20 July 2007, employers must give the Fact Sheet to new employees within seven days of starting work. Employers have until 20 October 2007 to give the Fact Sheet to existing employees.

The Fact Sheet is intended to provide employees with a summary of their rights and obligations.

Regulations are yet to be prepared outlining the manner in which the Fact Sheet may be given to employees. It is unclear whether employers have to give a coloured print copy of the document or if a photocopy is good enough. Regulations could allow the Fact Sheet to be sent by email or with the letter of offer of employment or with pay slips.

Failure to give the Fact Sheet can result in a $110 penalty for each employee who does not receive the Fact Sheet. How large is your workforce?

There are many logistical questions that arise with the giving of the Fact Sheet to employees:

  • Will you need to keep records of employees receiving the Fact Sheet?

  • What if the employee is on long service leave, overseas or travelling?

  • Do you need to ensure the employee actually receives the Fact Sheet?

  • Is it acceptable to mail the Fact Sheet?

Many of these questions are unanswered. We wait for the regulations. In the meantime, physically give the Fact Sheet to your employees.

New minimum wage rates

Federal minimum wage rates have been increased by the Australian Fair Pay Commission to apply from 1 October 2007:

  • The minimum hourly rate of pay under an applicable Australian Pay and Classification Scale will increase by $0.27 an hour for those employees earning up to $700 per week;

  • The minimum hourly rate of pay under an applicable APCS will increase by $0.14 an hour for those earning more than $700 per week.

  • For those not bound by an APCS, the standard federal minimum wage is now $13.74 an hour.

Other Important Matters

From 1 July 2007:

  • Employees not employed under award conditions earning greater than $101,300 are excluded from making unfair dismissal applications; and

  • Under the Federal unfair dismissal jurisdiction the Commission cannot award more than $50,700 compensation in lieu of reinstatement to an employee not employed under award conditions.

We will keep you informed of developments once the regulations are made public.

Author: James Mattson