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New Financial Year - Changes you NEED to be aware of

I don’t normally do legislative pieces in my blog, as I know there are many places you can get this information – but as it’s the New Financial Year, I thought I would summarise what I think are the key ‘HR’ changes you need to know about … and where to find out more. Changes impacting businesses/employees from 1 July 2012 New Minimum Wage The 2012 Annual Wage Review decision takes effect from the first pay period on or after 1 July 2012. The decision increases minimum weekly wages by 2.9%. This applies to minimum wages for adults, juniors, trainees and apprentices, employees with a disability and to piece rates. The new national minimum wage will be $606.40 per week or $15.96 per hour. Award allowances, such as meal allowance, clothing allowance will also increase. For more information refer to Fairwork Website. High Income Threshold Rises The high income threshold increases to $123,300 from 1 July 2012. The high income threshold affects how modern awards apply to employees and affects their ability to access unfair dismissal. Tax Free Threshold The tax free threshold is increasing from $6,000 to $18,200 from 1 July 2012. Superannuation Concessional Caps The concessional cap for all employees is $25,000. There is no higher concessional cap for older workers in 2012–13. The non-concessional cap, which is the cap on post-tax contributions such as employee contributions made under a salary sacrifice arrangement, remains at $150,000 for 2012–13. Unfair Dismissals The compensation limit under unfair dismissal increases to $61,650. Visa Changes The Australian Government has announced two major reforms to employer sponsored visa programs, which take effect on 1 July 2012. These reforms are:

  • The introduction of SkillSelect

  • Reforms to the Permanent Employer Sponsored Program

SkillSelect presents a new method of finding skilled workers to fill occupations where there are skills shortages and no suitable candidates have been identified by the employer. If you are struggling with skills shortages, this may be a great recruitment and retention strategy for you to consider. For full information please check the SkillSelect website The key changes to the Permanent Employer Sponsorship Program which may also help employers attract and retain employees are:

  • Collapsing the existing visa subclasses to two

  • Introducing a streamlined and simplified pathway to permanent residence for eligible 457 visa holders

  • Raising the upper age limit to less than 50 years

  • Changes to key visa criteria including English language and skill requirements

  • Introducing one consolidated sponsored occupation list (CSOL)

For detailed information on the 1 July reforms please check the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.

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