As another new financial year brings in more important changes and new rates apply from 1 July 2015. A snapshot of these changes is set out below.
1. Minimum wage increases
The National Weekly Minimum Wage that applies to employees not covered by an award or enterprise agreement (“award/agreement free employees”) has increased from $640.90 to $656.90 per week, or $16.87 to $17.29 per hour.
All modern award minimum wage rates have increased by 2.5% (rounded to the nearest 10 cents).
2. Superannuation contribution
The maximum superannuation contribution base has increased from $49,430 to $50,810 per quarter, or from $197,720 to $203,240 per annum.
An employer is not required to make superannuation contributions on behalf of employees on earnings in excess of that maximum contribution base.
The superannuation guarantee contribution rate remains at the rate 9.5%.
3. Taxation of employment termination payment (ETP)
The tax-free component for bonafide redundancy ETPs has increased from a base limit of $9,514 to $9,780, and from $4,758 to $4,891 for each completed year of service.
4. ETP cap
The ETP cap has increased from $185,000 to $195,000. Amounts over this cap are not subject to concessional tax treatment and are taxed at the highest marginal tax rate.
5. New high income threshold
The High Income Threshold has increased from $133,000 to $136,700 per annum.
Employers must take care when determining whether an employee’s earnings are above this threshold because some amounts paid to the employee may not be counted (for example, commissions, bonuses, overtime, reimbursements and compulsory superannuation contributions).
Award/agreement free employees’ access to the unfair dismissal regime is restricted by the high income threshold.
This threshold also affects which employees may be offered a “guarantee of annual earnings” that will result in no modern award applying to those employees for the period of the guarantee.
6. Unfair dismissal ($68,350 or 26 weeks’ pay)
The maximum compensation available for unfair dismissal claims has increased from the lower of $66,500 or 26 weeks’ pay.
7. Filing fee increases ($68.60/application)
The filing fees for unfair dismissal and general protections applications have each increased from $67.20.