Employers should note the following changes that apply from 1 July 2017:

Minimum award wage rates

Minimum wage rates in modern awards will increase by 3.3% from 1 July 2017, with weekly wages rounded to the nearest 10 cents. Employers should review applicable awards and adjust wage rates for award employees as necessary. Note that it is not necessary to increase salaries for award employees who are paid above award rates, provided minimum award conditions are met.

National minimum wage

The National minimum wage will increase by 3.3% from 1 July 2017. The new national minimum wage will be $694.90 per week or $18.29 per hour. This is an increase of $22.20 per week or 59 cents per hour from the 2016/17 rates.

Unfair dismissal threshold

The high income threshold for unfair dismissal applications will be $142,000 from 1 July 2017. This means employees who earn less than $142,000 will, subject to meeting other relevant tests, be able to file unfair dismissal applications.

Employers should note that:

  • the high income threshold is not relevant to employees covered by an award or enterprise agreement, with the result that employees in this group will be able to file an unfair dismissal application even if they earn above $142,000 (subject to meeting other applicable tests); and
  • not all earnings are included for the purpose of calculating the high income threshold. Excluded earnings include amounts that cannot be determined in advance (such as incentives and commissions), reimbursements and minimum superannuation contributions.

Superannuation

Employers must continue to contribute 9.5% of an employee’s ordinary time earnings to a complying superannuation fund. The maximum superannuation contributions base for 2017/18 will be $52,760 per quarter (or the equivalent of $211,040 annually). This means that employers must make superannuation contributions equal to 9.5% of an employee’s ordinary time earnings to $52,760 per quarter. Employers need not make superannuation contributions with respect to earnings above this cap unless they have a contractual obligation to do so.

Fair Work Information Statement

The Fair Work Ombudsman will issue an updated Fair Work Information Statement in the near future. Once available, the updated version should be issued to each new employee before, or as soon as possible after, they start employment.