From 1 August 2023, the entitlement of 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave
introduced under the Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill
2022, extends to include small business employees, bringing them into line with the same rights granted to medium and large businesses back in February.
Small businesses were given an additional six months from the commencement date for medium and large businesses to prepare for the new leave entitlement in recognition of the limited resources of most small business.
This paid leave:
▪ is accessible by all employees including casuals who have been ‘rostered’ (eg have accepted an offer to work);
▪ is not a ‘pro-rata’ entitlement, that is, it is available in full for all employees (including casuals);
▪ is available ‘upfront’ meaning the leave does not accrue and is available in full (10 days of
pay) from commencement, renewing on the employee’s anniversary date;
▪ is payable at the rate that the employee would have earned had they worked instead of
taking the leave (instead of being payable at base rates);
▪ replaces the previous 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave available to
Employees (including part-time and casual employees) can take this paid leave if they need to do something to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence.
As an example, this could include the employee:
▪ making arrangements for their safety, or the safety of a close relative (including relocation);
▪ attending court hearings;
▪ accessing police services;
▪ attending counselling;
▪ attending appointments with medical, financial or legal professionals.
Employers need to keep a record of leave balances and any leave taken by employees. However, pay slips must not mention family and domestic violence leave, including any leave taken and leave balances. This is to reduce the risk to an employee’s safety when accessing paid family and domestic violence leave.
Right to superannuation to be included in the National Employment Standards
From 1 January 2024, the National Employment Standards (NES) will include a right to
superannuation contributions. This means that unpaid or underpaid superannuation can be
enforced under the Fair Work Act by more employees (as well as by an employee organisation or Fair Work Ombudsman).
This change aligns the NES entitlement with the requirements under superannuation legislation for employers to make contributions on behalf of employees on a quarterly basis in order to avoid liability for the superannuation guarantee charge.
Including superannuation in the NES ensures that most employees covered by the Act have an enforceable right to superannuation. Currently, employees covered by a modern award or
enterprise agreement that includes a requirement for superannuation contributions can apply to a court to enforce such a term, including through a claim in the small claims court.
These legislative changes ensure more employees have this workplace right. An employee organisation or a Fair Work Inspector can also apply to enforce such a term for the employee’s benefit.
These changes expand the number of national system employees with a workplace right to
superannuation who are able to take action in court to recover their unpaid superannuation.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) still has primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with the superannuation guarantee and associated obligations. All employees will continue to report superannuation underpayments to the ATO.
The Fair Work Ombudsman will continue to be able to refer matters of unpaid superannuation to the ATO and, in appropriate circumstances, pursue unpaid superannuation in a complementary role to the ATO, under both the new NES entitlement and pursuant to a term of a modern award, enterprise agreement, or other industrial instrument.
Changes to Authorised Employee Deductions
From 30 December 2023, employees will be able to authorise salary deductions made by their employer that are:
▪ for amounts that vary from time to time.
The amendments allow employees to authorise their employers to make salary deductions that are recurring and are for amounts that vary from time to time. These deductions will only be allowed if they are principally for the employee’s benefit. This amendment eases the
administrative burden on employees and employers.
Previous provisions did not allow for varying deductions and required a new written authorisation each time the deduction amount changes. This means an employee can make a single written authorisation that allows their employer to deduct amounts from their salary even where the deduction amount may vary from year to year.
It can be withdrawn by the employee in writing at any time. At the moment, a new written
authorisation between an employee and employer has to be made if a deduction amount
Employees can also continue to allow deductions for specific amounts only. These types of
deductions need to be:
▪ principally for the employee’s benefit;
▪ in writing.
The changes provide greater flexibility for employers and employees to manage deductions.
Offering variable deductions and authorising them remains optional for both employers and
employees. Employees may continue to authorise deductions for specified amounts only.
Want to learn more about entitlement changes and other compliance requirements? Contact us today to understand your obligations.
Disclaimer – the above and attached information provided is general in nature and does not constitute specific or legal advice. If you have further questions about this and its impacts to your workplace specifically, contact email@example.com and our team will try and help you through your query.