In this update:
- Annual minimum wage increases of 2.5% from 1 July 2021
- Superannuation changes from 1 July 2021
- Your Future, Your Super changes
- WorkSafe Provisional Payments
- Fair Work Information Statement
- Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Amendment (Notification) Regulations 2021
- Dangerous Goods (Explosives) Interim Regulations 2021
- New WorkSafe "If you are injured at work" posters
- WorkSafe Safety Alert – Concrete Placing Boom
- Introduction of the OHS Amendment Bill
Annual minimum wage increases of 2.5% from 1 July 2021
From the first, full, pay period on or after 1 July 2021, the minimum Award rates of pay and allowances increased by 2.5 per cent, as determined by the Fair Work Commission in its Annual Wage review. Various expense related allowances have also been adjusted in accordance with applicable CPI movements.
We have updated our wage bulletins to reflect the increases to the minimum wage rates and allowances. You can download the bulletins below:
- Building and Construction General On-site Award 2020
- Joinery and Building Trades Award 2020
- Clerks - Private Sector Award 2020
Please note, the increases are applicable from the first, full, pay cycle that commences on or after 1 July 2021. No adjustments need to be made for pay cycles that start before this date. As such, the increases to wages and allowances are likely to apply from your next pay cycle.
If you have further questions, please contact the MBV Employment and Industrial Relations team on (03) 9411 4555.
Superannuation changes from 1 July 2021
From 1 July 2021, the statutory minimum for superannuation contributions increased to 10% of employee's Ordinary Time Earnings (OTE). You need to review your current practices to ensure that your organisation is making the correct superannuation contributions. For more information, you can refer to the ATO's website.
If your organisation is already paying more favourable or higher superannuation rates compared to the new minimum superannuation rates (i.e., through an Enterprise Agreement or separate agreement), this minimum payment increase may not impact this arrangement.
We also note that from 1 July 2021, contribution caps are set to increase for the first time since 2017. You can read more about it on the ATO's website.
Lastly, employers with more than 20 employees have been using Single Touch Payroll (STP) since 1 July 2018, but from 1 July 2021, all employers will have to report payroll obligations electronically (unless they have an exemption).
We suggest that you speak to your bookkeeper or accountant to ensure you understand your Super and STP applications.
The most significant change for employers involves 'stapling', which is where new employees will automatically keep their existing super fund (if they have one) when they start their employment in a new job unless they otherwise choose a fund themselves. This change will apply from 1 November 2021.
WorkSafe Provisional Payments
Victorian workers' compensation laws have recently been amended to permit eligible workers and volunteers with access to reasonable treatment and services for work-related injuries while their WorkCover claims are being determined.
Employers are required to provide this treatment for a period of up to 13 weeks after the injury, irrespective of the outcome of their workers' compensation claim.
These changes came into effect on 1 July 2021.
In another development, employers will be required to notify their Agent (insurer) of mental injury claims within three days after receiving a claim. Agents will then be required to determine if the claim is eligible to receive provisional payments within two business days.
The purpose of this change is to provide workers who file mental injury claims to receive treatment earlier. Penalties will be imposed for notification failures after 1 January 2022.
Fair Work Information Statement
Fair Work Ombudsman has published an updated Fair Work Information Statement. Employers have to give every new employee a copy of the Statement before, or as soon as possible after, they start their new job. You can download the updated Statement here.
As a reminder, following the creation of the new Casual NES, employers now have to give every new casual employee a copy of the Casual Employment Information Statement. You can download the Casual FWIS here.
Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Amendment (Notification) Regulations 2021
The Amendment Regulations introduce new notification requirements for occupiers of premises that store and handle dangerous goods in prescribed quantities (exceeding manifest quantities).
WorkSafe must be notified when specified circumstances occur. Where no changes occur, the occupier is required to update their information at least every two years. Previously it was every five years.
An online notification form has been developed to assist duty holders in notifying WorkSafe. The form will replace the current digital and paper forms on the WorkSafe website. It will be available on myWorkSafe from 1 July.
The Amendment Regulations also introduce:
- circumstances that trigger the need for further notification within this two year period
- the timing for when duty holders must notify; and
- additional information to be provided with notifications.
Existing duty holders will have six months from 1 July 2021 to submit a notification that complies with the new requirements or until one of the specified changes in circumstance occurs (whichever is earlier). The amendments commence on 1 July 2021. Click here to view the summary of changes.
Dangerous Goods (Explosives) Interim Regulations 2021
The Governor in Council has made the Dangerous Goods (Explosives) Interim Regulations 2021 (Interim Regulations). These new regulations commenced on 20 June 2021.
The Interim Regulations extend the operation of the Dangerous Goods (Explosives) Regulations 2011 (DG Explosives Regulations), made under the Dangerous Goods Act 1985 (the DG Act), which were due to sunset on 21 June 2021. The Interim Regulations will be in place for 12 months until 19 June 2022.
The Interim Regulations will ensure any recommendations arising from the comprehensive independent review of the DG Act and associated regulations (the Review), which is currently underway, can be considered for the remaking of the DG Explosives Regulations.
The Review is currently considering contemporary issues and challenges in the management of dangerous goods, including emerging risks and issues and their impact on the safety of people and property. It will also consider ways to streamline and modernise the DG Act and associated regulations.
The final report is expected to be delivered to the Minister for Workplace Safety, Ingrid Stitt, in December 2021.
Importantly, there are no substantive changes between the Interim Regulations and the DG Explosives Regulations. Changes are confined to updating the title, commencement date, references to out-of-date documents and minor amendments to remove redundant provisions, reflect modern drafting techniques and to use inclusive language.
A copy of the Interim Regulations is now available on the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website here.
New WorkSafe "If you are injured at work" posters
WorkSafe has updated their "If you are injured at work" posters. Employers are legally obligated to display this poster at their workplaces. It contains steps for employees to follow after a work-related injury or illness. It is available in multiple languages.
WorkSafe Safety Alert – Concrete Placing Boom
WorkSafe has now published the following Safety Alert: Employee dies when struck by a concrete-placing boom that structurally failed.
The alert clarifies WorkSafe's expectations with respect to robust plant inspection regimes and work practices, which can greatly reduce the likelihood of such a tragic incident recurring.
This alert will be followed by a targeted project including marketing and communications plan to inform and raise awareness as well as targeted inspections across the state focusing on inspection and maintenance of concrete placing booms.
Once passed, the Bill will change the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) by:
- Improving the workplace safety rights and protections of labour hire workers by expressly including these workers in consultation
- Prohibiting insurance arrangements/contracts that indemnify individuals for penalised for OHS offences
- Providing authorised employee representatives and health and safety representatives the right to take photographs, measurements and make recordings of suspected occupational health and safety breaches within their existing roles under the OHS Act
- Allowing WorkSafe inspectors to issue certain notices, reports and infringements electronically
- Simplifying WorkSafe's procedures for disposing or destroying seized property that owners do not want returned
There is an explicit offence that applies to ARREO’s who misuse the proposed right to take photographs et al, but this offence only applies to ARREO’s. Unions misusing content obtained by other sources remains a significant concern that is not addressed by this Bill.
If you have any questions about the Bill or require further information, please contact the Master Builders Victoria OHS team.