– Australia is doing great! Let’s keep it up over the holiday period and as office workers return to the workplace to ensure that our communities remain safe and healthy into the new year.
– An experiment in Seoul, Korea found that COVID19 can be caught from 5 minutes of exposure to someone more than 6 metres away!
– The USA and Europe are not doing as well with managing spread of the virus, with over 3,000 people dying in one day in the USA last Wednesday, more than on September 11 2001, and last Saturday almost 230,000 people contracted the virus.
Business HR Update
– Christmas Public Holidays are a bit different this year as Boxing Day falls on a Saturday so the public holiday will take place on Monday 28 December instead of 26 December. If your business is open over the holiday period, ensure you are paying your staff correctly! Check the Fair Work Public Holiday information page for more details.
– The ATO has given Jobkeeper Extension recipients an extra two weeks to lodge the December business monthly declaration – it’s now due on 28 January 2021. Remember the payment rates change for your eligible employees from 4 January 2021. New entities enrolling need to get their enrolment and decline in turnover form in by 31 January 2021. For all the details, visit the ATO website.
– A number of award rates and allowance amounts have changed recently – please check that you are paying your staff correctly under the relevant award.
– The ATO is being sued in the Federal Court by the Australian Services Union, representing tax office employees, saying that management made up a new category of “working from home” during the pandemic so that existing rules for staff working at home could be bypassed. The union is seeking fines and other penalties for these alleged breaches of workplace laws. The ATO says that it acted in accordance with its enterprise agreement.
ℹ️ Future of Work
– The Australian Government has introduced its package of proposed industrial relations reforms including simplifying awards, Greenfields agreements, casual employment definition changes (to address the Rossato decision), enterprise agreements and underpayment of employees both accidental and deliberate. The proposed purpose is to assist business to create jobs and give both employers and employees more certainty in working together in post-COVID Australia. The biggest bone of contention for the opposition and unions is the proposed change to allow enterprise agreements where not all employees are better off (under the BOOT). The Government is also seeking to introduce a “part time flex employment” model to allow for part-time employees in the retail and hospitality sectors to agree to work additional hours at their usual rate of pay, foregoing overtime payments. For all the details of the proposed reforms, visit the Attorney-General’s website.