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  • HR Heartbeat: National minimum wage announcement, Pride month, and...

HR Heartbeat: National minimum wage announcement, Pride month, and...

In this edition we’re unpacking the national minimum wage announcement, what businesses can do to mark Pride month, why everyone’s talking about “junior pay”, and more.

First published on Tuesday, Jun 11, 2024

Last updated on Friday, Jun 07, 2024

6 min read

Have you heard the latest news?

Everything you need to know about the latest trends impacting employers all over Australia. Keep up to date with the HR Heartbeat.

Let’s get into the headlines.

National Minimum Wage

Effective July 1 2024, the national minimum wage is set to increase by 3.75%

The amount will now be $24.10 an hour or $915.91 for a full-time, 38-hour working week.

That’s about 2.6 million workers, or 20.7% of the national workforce who’ll be impacted by the increase.

It’s important to make sure your business is prepared to absorb and roll out these changes, so you stay on top of wage laws. Wage theft laws are also coming into effect in a few months, making it all the more crucial that you take the correct actions in line with the national minimum wage increase.

If you’re unsure about how you can remain compliant with evolving wage laws and record-keeping, join our next live webcast. Our employment relations advisers are taking you through everything you need to know including awards, classifications, pay points, and contract updates.

Pride month

June is Pride month, and it’s more important than ever to make sure your employees—all your employees—feel comfortable enough at work to unlock their full potential.

While Pride month is a great reminder to celebrate the achievements of the LGBTQIA+ community and reflect on what we can do to further the safety and rights of these individuals in the workplace, make sure your efforts don’t start and end during Pride month.

Implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion measures are proven to improve employee morale, innovation, and business outcomes in sustainable ways.

As a small business or start-up, the best starting point could be developing and putting the right policies and processes in place to make sure your team is treated fairly and equitably. BrightHR’s extensive library of HR policies and templates helps you shave hours off your HR admin time thanks to easily customisable document templates written by experts.

Organising/administering e-learning courses on DEI awareness regularly is also a great way to make sure your employees know what behaviours are expected of them in the workplace.

There’s Pay and Pay Junior

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has labelled the lower wages given to staff members under the age of 21, “discriminatory”.

Sally McManus, the ACTU Secretary added that since young people don’t receive discounts on their rent or groceries, their youth wages simply don’t add up.

Many young employees, largely across the hospitality, fast food, and retail industries currently earn below the minimum award wage. These are called “junior rates” and results in a worker under the age of 21 earning substantially less than their older coworkers working the same job.

The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (SDA) has agreed with the ACTU on the issue.

But while the unions have lodged a formal application with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) about the issue, business groups like the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) have called the proposal “unrealistic” and the government hasn’t committed to backing any award changes.

Stay tuned to see how this develops.

5 lessons in HR and Health & Safety

Every edition of HR Heartbeat includes warning tales for employers and business owners from employment law and health & safety slip-ups other businesses have suffered.

That’s why we decided to compile the 5 biggest lessons we’ve learnt from major HR and health & safety slip-ups into one guide. It breaks down the incident behind the headline, what went wrong, and what could have been done to avoid it all from happening.

Get your free copy here. And discover the story behind a record-breaking $10 million fine, the tragic consequences of a toxic workplace culture, and more.

That wraps up this edition of HR Heartbeat. Stay tuned for more headlines and all the latest updates that will keep you in the know with all the major employment changes coming your way.

If you’ve got questions about the top HR headlines from this week, ask Bright BrAInbox:

Is the minimum wage mandatory?

In Australia, minimum wage rates are contained within a variety of industrial instruments, including the National Employment Standards, a modern award or an enterprise agreement. These instruments set out the minimum amount an employee can be paid for the type of work they perform. It is important that you determine an employee’s classification and applicable industrial instrument to apply the correct rate. This is because the rates outlined in these documents are enforceable, and not adhering to the minimum pay entitlements set out in these instruments may result in a successful underpayment claim, or civil penalties for contravening a modern award, enterprise agreement or national minimum wage order. Additionally, some states have implemented wage theft legislation, which may result in criminal charges.

What is Pride Month in Australia?

Every June, Pride Month celebrates the diversity of the LGBTIQA+ community. It's a time to reflect on just how far civil rights have progressed in half a century and an opportunity to protest discrimination and violence.

What rates do I pay my junior employee?

The pay rate for a junior employee is determined by their relevant industrial instrument. It is common for junior employees to get paid a percentage of the relevant adult pay rate, and the percentages that apply are usually based on the employee’s age and increase on their next birthday until the employee is an adult and on adult rates. If the relevant industrial instrument is silent on junior pay rates, then junior employees are paid the same as adult employees. If a junior employee isn't covered by an award or agreement, they will get a percentage of the National Minimum Wage. Please refer to this to determine the applicable rate.

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