It's nearly that time of the year again when the Fair Work Commission will hand down the increase the Minimum Wage (FMW). This will mean that all Award rates of pay will increase by the increase that is pronounced. As is always the case, the announcement is expected in early to mid-June with an operative date of the first pay period on or after 1 July 2016.
How much will the increase be?
As is always the case, the peak Employer bodies and the Unions are "poles-apart" on their submissions for the increase. Employers are arguing for a modest 1.2% increase, while the ACTU submits that the increase should be a flat $30.00 per week I have long given up on trying to accurately predict the increase, however the trend since I can recall has been that the increase is about .5% -1% higher than the current CPI figure. In the last 5 years or so, the increase has been between 2.5% and just under 3%. CPI is currently running at about 1.3 - 1.5%. The recent interest rate cut by the RBA may also have an impact on the outcome.
So I'm going to hazard a guess and suggest that the increase will be between 2.3% and 2.5% - the lowest for a long time. But don’t be surprised if the increase is a flat dollar amount because we have had 5 years of percentage increases which results in an expansion in the range of wages, and the FWC may want to curb that expansion this year.
Do I have to pay the increase?
The question I'm often asked at this time is "Do I have to pass on the increase to my staff?" The short answer is yes; if you pay your staff under the Award.
However, if you pay your staff wages or salaries over the Award, then it may well be that you can absorb any increase into that over-Award payment. But much will depend upon the employment contract or letter of appointment that you have with the staff member and how the over-Award payment is expressed in those documents.
If you would like further information in relation to this issue, and whether the FMW increase can be absorbed into above Award payments, please do not hesitate to contact us.
"Since the writing of the article, the Fair Work Commission have announced a 2.4% increase in Award wages operative from 1 July 2016. If you would like information as to the application of this increase, and whether or not it can be absorbed into over-Award payments, please contact Effective Workplace Solutions"
The highly-anticipated tax cut for small businesses will provide much needed relief for mum-and-dad owners, with an Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) report highlighting the amount of tax paid by the small business sector overall has increased, while the contribution made by big business has fallen.
The ASBFEO’s Small Business Counts statistics report released today, includes ATO figures showing the small business share of company tax revenue has increased two per cent in recent years, while input from the big business sector has fallen three per cent.
“A healthy small-business sector is a prerequisite for a growing economy; there’s no doubt SMEs are doing their fair share when it comes to paying tax, not to mention creating job opportunities,” ASBFEO Kate Carnell said.
“The Federal Government’s foreshadowed company tax cuts for businesses with a turnover of up to $10 million will give 99 per cent of Australian businesses a tax reduction, and will provide a much needed shot in the arm for the sector’s growth prospects, enhancing the ability of small businesses to employ,” she said.
Compiled over the past 12 months, the ASBFEO statistics report brings together data and analysis from a range of sources including the ATO, ABS and Austrade, and has been released to mark the office’s one year anniversary.
“This report provides a unique insight into the sector; it ultimately reinforces the size and importance of the small businesses to the Australian economy, and outlines its growing diversity,” Carnell said.
Among the report’s findings, Carnell said the number of small businesses currently venturing into offshore markets is on the rise.
“Encouragingly, ABS data shows more and more small businesses are entering export markets, with 44 per cent of goods-exporting firms classified as small business,” Carnell said.
“Many are also entering the global market place at an early stage of their development, giving rise to the ‘born-global’ phenomenon,” she said.
Carnell said while many small businesses are at the cutting edge of innovation, she’d like to see more small businesses go down this path.
“Our report highlights ABS data showing small business accounts for 17 per cent of business expenditure on R&D; while this is encouraging, it’s a figure I think the sector can – and will – build upon, particularly as more small businesses realise the benefits of entering into strategic partnerships with larger companies, especially in industries like defence,” Carnell said.
Carnell said the purpose of the report is to be a resource for governments, public policy makers and researchers that will improve their knowledge and understanding of the Australian small-business sector.
“We’re inviting feedback on the report and welcome comment from small business and others on how we can ensure this document is the go-to publication for small-business stats in Australia,” Carnell said.
The full report can be found on the ASBFEO website: www.asbfeo.gov.au where a feedback form is also available.
The Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2017 ( bill) amends the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) ( Privacy Act) and imposes an obligation on businesses to notify individuals and the Information Commissioner of data breaches. While the introduction of a mandatory data breach notification regime is significant, the threshold for notification is quite high.
When will it take effect?
The notification laws are expected to come into effect within the next 12 months. The bill was passed by both houses of parliament on 13 February 2017 and is currently awaiting Royal Assent.
Who is affected?
All entities that are currently subject to the Australian Privacy Principles ( APP entity) in the Privacy Act, which includes:
Also, if an APP entity has provided personal information to an overseas entity, these notification obligations may still apply as if the APP entity itself held the information.
What are the notification requirements?
An ‘eligible data breach’ is central to this legislation. An eligible data breach happens if:
‘Personal information’ means information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable, whether true or not. Common examples may include individuals’ dates of birth, addresses and credit card details.
‘Serious harm’ imposes a fairly high threshold, and is where a reasonable person would conclude that access to, or disclosure of, personal information would be likely to result in serious harm, taking into account a range of specified matters1 including:
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has previously considered ‘serious harm’ to include identify theft and financial fraud.2
There are three categories of obligation surrounding an eligible data breach.
Within 30 days of an APP entity suspecting that there may have been an eligible data breach it is obliged to carry out a reasonable and expeditious assessment of whether there in fact has been such a breach.
If an APP entity has reasonable grounds to believe that an eligible data breach has happened, it must notify:
An APP entity is also required to provide such notification if directed to do so by the Information Commissioner.
If an eligible data breach occurs, and the APP entity takes action before the breach results in serious harm to any of the affected individuals, then the breach is deemed to have not been an ‘eligible data breach’ and no notification steps are required.
The APP entity’s notification to the Information Commissioner and the affected individuals must be provided as soon as practicable after the APP entity becomes aware of the breach, and must contain:
What are the consequences of non-compliance?
If an entity or individual does not comply with the requirements of the legislation, they risk facing civil penalties of up to $1.8 million or $360,000 respectively or compensation orders to individuals who have suffered loss or damage as a result of the non-compliance.
What do I need to do?
If these amendments are likely to impact your organisation, we recommend action be taken now to prepare for the commencement of the bill. Such action may include implementing:
We also recommend a whole-of-business approach towards minimising cyber risks and the associated fall-out from a cyber event should be taken. As part of this, companies should consider how their present insurance coverage responds to cyber events and whether obtaining specialised cyber risk insurance coverage is necessary, particularly in light of the impending commencement of the bill.
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Austbrokers Coast to Coast can offer comprehensive solutions for all risks mentioned. Please contact us on 07 5586 9955
Australians are being warned to ignore a convincing but fake email-borne Origin Energy electricity bill that has been doing the rounds since 10 May.
Tens of thousands of the bogus emails started hitting inboxes at 8.30am on 10 May, according to enterprise email security provider, MailGuard.
The email, which MailGuard describes as “well-cratfed”, features Origin Energy branding, and employs the subject heading, “You Origin Electricity bill”, and is dated 16 May.
The amount due figure varies between individual scam emails, a tactic used to help it evade traditional antivirus software.
Another tactic employed by the cybercriminals behind the scam to further trick recipients into thinking the email is the real deal, is the inclusion of a line addressing privacy concerns that links to the real Origin Energy site.
The malware, which is hosted on a compromised Microsoft SharePoint account, is designed to install malicious files, such as keyloggers and other spyware, on the recipients’ systems.(An example of the fake email - (MailGuard) is below)
“The scam email originates from a fake domain – originenergysolar.net – registered in China just days ago. It was sent from servers located in France,” MailGuard said in a blog post
. “Those behind it have gone to considerable lengths to trick victims.”
The ploy bears some similarities to another email-instigated scam picked up by MailGuard last month.
According to enterprise email security provider, the scam began with a phishing email ostensibly from the Federal Government’s my.Gov.au site, telling the recipient to visit the site to verify their identity.
Recipients who click on a link in the email were taken to a replica of the real myGov site – a “near-perfect” clone of the centralised government services website, according to MailGuard.
Once victims were directed to the fake site, they were prompted to put their credit card details. Once this was done, they were then redirected to the genuine myGov website, in a bid to cover up the deception.
** Austbrokers Coast to Coast can help protect you from this loss through either Cyber Liability or Management Liability cover, please call us for a no obligation discussion in relation to what you may need to implement.
Hair and beauty salons and retail outlets are the focus of a new Fair Work Ombudsman compliance campaign that will target businesses along the east coast of Australia.
Fair Work Inspectors will conduct audits of at least 1600 businesses in randomly selected urban and regional areas of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The campaign will be conducted in two phases, with audits to be conducted in waves.
Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell said the first phase was already underway and the campaign would take approximately 12 months to complete.
“The retail, hair and beauty sectors have been selected for audit because they employ high numbers of workers, particularly young people and workers from migrant backgrounds,” Campbell said. “In addition, previous audits into hair and beauty businesses and the retail industry have found high levels of non-compliance.”
“In 2013, the Fair Work Ombudsman released the results of a national hair and beauty campaign which identified an overall industry non-compliance rate of 55 per cent,” Campbell said. “Victoria recorded the highest rate of non-compliance with almost three quarters of salon operators audited not meeting their obligations under workplace laws,” Campbell said.
The retail industry is Australia’s second largest employer, and Campbell said a previous Fair Work Ombudsman national campaign saw $585 000 returned to 755 workers.
“Our 2012 report revealed that more than 40 per cent of the underpayments identified through the campaign were owed by NSW employers,” Campbell said. “This new hair, beauty and retail campaign will build on our previous work to reinforce the need for all workplace participants to proactively ensure they are meeting their obligations under Australian workplace laws.”
Inside Small Business
It amazes me how many times people have spoken of Act of God being both an insured or excluded peril under an insurance policy.
There was even a famous Billy Connolly with this as its theme. My nephew, Jeffery, one of the guys sending me a joke questioned me on it and I thought it was worth setting the record straight.
Despite having read thousands of policies of insurance and being involved in the drafting of 100's more, I have never seen the words 'Act of God' appear in a policy as an insured, or excluded peril.
What it means in layman's term is:
a completely unforeseeable event where there has been no human intervention
Things such as fire, lightening, earthquake, tornado, hurricane, cyclone, flood, landslip, and the like.
Under policies such as a comprehensive motor vehicle policy, all these perils are in fact, insured. Most property policies, such as your home and contents, business pack or ISR, the vast majority would be insured, although landslip, action by the sea, storm surge and flood may be excluded.
If you are in any doubt as to the cover afforded by the policy which you have in place, I recommend that you speak to your insurance broker.