There have been some significant changes take effect from July 1 which are summarised below. Employers should be aware of these changes and ensure that workplace procedures and policies take them into account.

Minimum wages

Minimum wages increased from 1 July 2013 as a result of the Fair Work Commission’s recent decision to increase minimum award wages by 2.6%. This means that the federal weekly minimum full time wage has increased by $15.80 per week to $622.20 ($16.37 per hour) from $606.40 ($15.96 per hour) and modern award rates of pay (including transitional rates) have increased by this amount or more.

Employers should check the Fair Work Commission website ( for pay rate revisions to modern awards and ensure the appropriate increase is passed on from the first pay period after 1 July 2013. The Fair Work Ombudsman also has online pay checking resources ( For award based employees, the increase can be absorbed by a standard higher pay rate (although contracts should contain a standard “offset” clause). For non award employees, the obligation is for employers to ensure that an employee is being paid more than the minimum wage rate for all their hours of work.

Unfair dismissal high income threshold

From 1 July 2013, the unfair dismissal high income threshold (the annual remuneration level above which award free employees cannot bring unfair dismissal claims) increased to $129,300 pa (from $123,300 and excluding superannuation and non guaranteed amounts, eg commission) and the maximum compensation for unfair dismissals increased to $64,650 (for up to 26 weeks wages). This means that more higher income employees will be able to bring statutory unfair dismissal claims.

Superannuation guarantee charge

Employers (and anyone who engages the services of a “worker” under superannuation legislation) are required to make a 9.25% superannuation contribution for the 2013-2014 year. This will increase year by year to 12% by 2019.

Fair work information statement

There is a new FWIS which employers are required to provide to employees when they start employment. The new form can be downloaded from the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website.

Flexible working arrangements

The right to request flexible working arrangements has been extended to employees with a disability, employees over 55, employees experiencing family violence and employees returning to work after taking parental leave. The range of reasonable business grounds on which a request can be refused has also been extended.

Workplace bullying

The workplace bullying changes (see AWL Mail 16 April 2013) have been passed by parliament but will not take effect until 1 January 2014. These changes enable employees who believe they have been bullied at work to apply to the Fair Work Commission for orders to stop the bullying. These laws have great potential significance and whilst it remains to be seen whether they will survive any change of government, employers should take both practical and formal steps to address workplace bullying.

Rio Tinto Cancer ride update

Thanks to all who have made a donation to my part in the Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer taking place on 17/18 August. This is a bicycle ride of 200 klms over 2 days to raise much needed funds for cancer treatment and research. The MJSP Consulting Team has been training hard over the last few months but the “Tour de Wivenhoe” will still be a big challenge for us. I would appreciate any donation that you can make to support the cause. Donating is as easy as doing one of the following:

  1. Follow this link:;
  2. Email Jess at; or
  3. Call Jess on (07) 3839 1233.