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Changes to Annualised Wages

Written by Sarah Camm

Important changes to annualised wage arrangements from March 1, 2020.

In February 2020 the Fair Work Commission made determinations that may affect salary arrangements in a wide range of businesses. Employers should carefully consider the changes and ensure that they are complying with their requirements, even where an employment agreement is in place.

What is an annualised salary?

Some employers have arrangements in place with their full-time employees, where their annual salary is calculated to compensate them for all of their entitlements and they do not receive, for instance, overtime, penalty rates or leave loading. The same arrangements cannot be made for part-time or casual workers, who are paid per hour. These arrangements should be agreed in advance, by way of an employment contract, and the annual wage must be high enough to cover the award entitlements.

What could go wrong?

When comparing their annualised wage arrangements with the entitlements they would otherwise have received, some employees have found that if they were simply paid their award wage and overtime payments, they would have been substantially better off. This means that they are being underpaid, resulting in employers having to make substantial back-payments to ensure that the employees received their entitlements.  

What are the changes?

From the first pay cycle after 1 March 2020, employers will be required to: –

  • set out in writing the entitlements that the annualised salary purports to include
  • nominate an ‘outer limit’, or maximum number of penalty or overtime hours the employee can work in a pay period without extra payment;
  • record an employee’s hours, including starting, finishing and break times;
  • have their employees sign their record of hours each pay cycle to confirm that it is accurate; and
  • monitor the arrangements, and conduct an annual reconciliation to ensure employees are being properly compensated for the hours worked.

While the changes do not affect the employer’s obligations or employee’s rights regarding minimum wages, they may lead to realisations of longstanding underpayments. Just Us Lawyers can help you review your employment contracts to ensure that they comply with the Fair Work Act, or can assist you to lodge a claim for unpaid wages.

Contact our experienced employment law team on 07 3369 7145 or via email to reception@justuslaw.com to make an appointment.

(Photo by Ross Findon, Unsplash)

Kalkadoon elder

Just Us Lawyers supports clients in Battles with mining companies

Just Us Lawyers acted for a Kalkadoon elder in battling a Diamond Joe Gutnick’s Legend International Holdings in respect to a proposed phosphate mine in the Mount Isa region.

Our client was successful in the case by getting changes to the environmental conditions to meet his cultural concerns. He had expected to get an order for the costs of obtaining expensive expert reports to support his case but the Land Court ruled it did not have the power to award costs in challenges to mining and environmental permits.  Mr Hardie of Just Us law is quoted in an article published in the Guardian:

Future mining objectors who could not afford the reports needed to win their case would struggle to find law firms or experts willing to wear those costs on their behalf. The green movement are lauding that decision against Adani as a big victory,” Hardie said. “They’ve said costs shouldn’t be awarded against objectors for trying to review environmental authorities and I agree. But I think the disadvantages far outweigh the protections because it basically means if you’re a little fella battling a big company and you have to go and get your expert reports, you’ve got no chance because you can’t even say to the experts, ‘You produce this report and if we get a costs order, you’ll get paid.’ This means any little person that doesn’t have resources on their own is less likely to object – when they have a valid objection.”

Click here to read Joshua Robertson’s article ‘Indigenous elder who took on miner and won left with $70,000 in legal costs’ published on the Guardian website 

Please contact us if you have any questions in relation to Resource and Indigenous Law


Off the plan property

Thinking of buying off-the-plan apartments?

Purchasing properties off-the-plan can be risky and Contracts of Sale are commonly worded to the benefit of the developer. We recommend that clients see us for pre-contract advice before they sign so that we can highlight the clauses which are not favourable to you and request amendments from the developer.

Click here to read Emily Stewart’s article ‘Off-the-plan apartments carry high risks’ published on abc news website 

Please contact us if you have any questions in relation to off-the-plan properties.


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