News & Security Advice

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JobKeeper Payment Employers and Employees Fact Sheets

Under the JobKeeper Payment, businesses impacted by the Coronavirus will be able to access a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees.

Affected employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of 6 months.

COVID-19 Federal Government Business Stimulus Packages

Please find below a breakdown of the various stimulus packages currently available.

Backing business incentive

  • The cash flow boost has been enhanced and up to $100,000 is now available and is split into 2 periods.
  • The first period is Jan to Jun 2020 and up to $50000 is available. The payment is now 100% of the PAYG up from 50%. (PAYG is the tax taken from employee wages.)
  • The payment is tax free and is calculated automatically by the ATO based on the activity and instalment statements lodged. (BAS/IAS) The payment will be a credit on your tax account from 28 April 2020, if there is no debt then a refund will occur.
  • The minimum payment has increased from $2000 to $20000. The payment for the first period will be $10000.
  • To qualify for the second period the entity must continue to be active. The second period is Jul to Oct 2020 and entities will receive an additional payment equal to the first period. A quarter of the payment will be received in Jul/Aug/Sep/Oct.
  • Applies to businesses with turnover under $50 million and that employ workers.

https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses

Business Loans Repayment Deferrals

Businesses can defer principle and interest repayments for up to six months. Some banks are also waiving merchant terminal fees. Contact your bank for their specific options.

Deferred ATO Payments and PAYG Instalments

  • Payments can be deferred for up to 4 months.
  • These include payments for Business Activity Statement, Income Tax and Fringe Benefits
  • Businesses can vary PAYG instalments to $0 on the March BAS. A refund can also be claimed for any instalments from September 2019 and December 2019
  • These are not automatic and need to be applied for so contact us or your accountant should you wish to explore these options.

Supporting Apprentices and Trainees

  • Eligible employees can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of their apprentice’s or trainee’s wage.
  • The eligible period of 1st January to 30th September 2020. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21000 per eligible employee.
  • It will be paid at $7000 per quarter.
  • To be eligible you must have fewer than 20 full time employees. They must be in training as at 1st March 2020.
  • An eligibility assessment must be undertaken by an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider.
  • Employers can register for the subsidy from early April 2020; final claims for payment must be lodged by 31 December 2020.
  • Contact an AASN provider for further information.

www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au

Supporting the flow of credit

  • The Government and the Reserve Bank have coordinated to ensure the flow of credit.
  • Under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, the government will provide a guarantee of 50 per cent to SME lenders to support new short-term unsecured loans to SMEs.
  • The scheme will guarantee up to $40 billion of new lending. SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible Maximum total size of the loans of $250000
  • Loans will be up to three years with an initial 6 month repayment holiday
  • The loans will be in the form of unsecured finance meaning borrowers won’t have to provide an asses as security,
  • The scheme will commence early April 2020 and be available for new loans until 30 September 2020
  • The government is providing an exemption from the responsible lending obligations for lenders providing credit to existing small business customers. This goes for 6 months.
  • The RBA has announced a term funding facility for the banking system; it is $90 billion at a fixed rate of 0.25 per cent. To encourage lending to businesses with particular incentives applying to new loans to SMEs.

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

  • Changes to how statutory demands can be issued: temporary increase in the threshold from $2000 to $20000 and the time to respond from 21 days to 6 months.
  • Changes to bankruptcy proceedings: temporary increase in the threshold from $5000 to $20000 and extended time periods.
  • Temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent. This will apply for 6 months.
  • For owners or directors of a business that are currently struggling due to the Coronavirus the ATO will tailor solutions including reduction of payments or deferrals, or withholding enforcement actions including Director Penalty Notices and wind-ups.

Increasing the instant asset write-off

The Government is increasing the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020.

Backing Business Investment

The Government is introducing a time limited 15 month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost.

Fair Work Ombudsman – Security company penalised

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured penalties totalling $68,560 against the former directors of a Coffs Harbour security contractor found to have underpaid 14 employees almost $94,000.

The Federal Circuit Court found that Northcoast Security Services Group Pty Ltd (Northcoast Security), which has since been liquidated, contravened the Fair Work Act, and fined former company directors Kuldeep Chouhan and Ricky John Nelson, $32,560 and $36,000 respectively, for their involvement in the company’s underpayment of its workers.

The Court also ordered that both pay compensation of $128,678 in respect of underpayments and interest owing, noting that that they managed the operations of Northcoast Security and were responsible for the loss sustained by the workers.

The workers were paid flat rates as low as $18 an hour, with the exception of public holidays, while under the Security Services Award 2010, were entitled to around $40 an hour for some weekend, night and overtime work.

The company also underpaid broken shift allowances and made unauthorised deductions from employee wages to pay for uniforms and security equipment.

The Fair Work Ombudsman had previously informed Mr Chouhan about the need to pay employees their full lawful entitlements and commenced proceedings in 2014 after security guards contacted the regulator for help.

During the proceedings, Northcoast Security argued that the workers were actually employed by two labour hire entities, however the Fair Work Ombudsman rejected this argument and the Court agreed that Northcoast Security did employ the workers and had contravened the Fair Work Act.

The employees were issued rosters by Mr Chouhan, wore shirts bearing the logo of Northcoast Security and completed timesheets headed with the company’s name.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the penalties and compensation imposed by the Court reflected the deliberate nature of the contraventions.

“Labour hire is a legitimate way to source staff, as long as they are paid correctly. Unfortunately some employers seek to use this arrangement unlawfully, to ignore award entitlements and get a competitive advantage over businesses that operate according to the law,” Ms Parker said.

“This judgment should serve as a warning to employers that they will get caught and face significant consequences for their actions, such as orders for significant compensation.”

In setting the penalties, Judge Manousaridis said that the penalty should “signal to employers, and to persons involved in the management of companies that employ persons, that there will be a significant penalty to pay if they do not comply, or take steps necessary to ensure they comply” with the Fair Work Act.

Transport (Cash in Transit) Award 2020

The Transport (Cash in Transit) Award has been varied as a result of the 4 yearly review of modern awards.

The new Transport (Cash in Transit) Award 2020 will commence on 4 May 2020.  Future award MA000042 from 4 May 2020 (PDF)

2020 Security Industry Skills Survey

This survey is to collect views on the current state, and future training needs, of the Property Services sector (which includes security). It will directly inform our project proposals for training products. Round 2 of the survey closes on the 17 February 2020.

Click here to give feedback on the security industry> 

Award Variation – Part Day Public Holidays

The Fair Work Commission has handed down its decision to vary modern awards to include a part day public holiday where gazetted by a State or Territory.

The decision (below) requires employers to pay employee’s public holiday rates in line with each State’s gazetted holidays.

Queensland  - Tuesday 24 December - Christmas Eve (from 6pm to midnight)

South Australia - Tuesday 24 December - Christmas Eve (from 7pm to midnight) and  Tuesday 31 December – New Year’s Eve (from 7pm to midnight)

Northern Territory - Tuesday 24 December - Christmas Eve (from 7pm to midnight) and Tuesday 31 December – New Year’s Eve (from 7pm to midnight)

Part Day public holidays are not gazetted in every State. https://www.fairwork.gov.au/leave/public-holidays/list-of-public-holidays

Modern awards are to be varied as follows:

Where a part-day public holiday is declared or prescribed between 6.00pm and midnight, or 7.00pm and midnight, on Christmas Eve (24 December in each year) or New Year’s Eve (31 December in each year) the following will apply on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and will override any provision in this award relating to public holidays to the extent of the inconsistency:

(a) All employees will have the right to refuse to work on the part-day public holiday if the request to work is not reasonable or the refusal is reasonable as provided for in the NES.

(b) Where a part-time or full-time employee is usually rostered to work ordinary hours on the declared or prescribed part-day public holiday but as a result of exercising their right under the NES does not work, they will be paid their ordinary rate of pay for such hours not worked.

(c) Where a part-time or full-time employee is usually rostered to work ordinary hours on the declared or prescribed part-day public holiday but as a result of being on annual leave does not work, they will be taken not to be on annual leave during the hours of the declared or prescribed part-day public holiday that they would have usually been rostered to work, and will be paid their ordinary rate of pay for such hours.

(d) Where a part-time or full-time employee is usually rostered to work ordinary hours on the declared or prescribed part-day public holiday, but as a result of having a rostered day off (RDO) provided under this award, does not work, the employee will be taken to be on a public holiday for such hours and paid their ordinary rate of pay for those hours.

(e) Excluding annualised salaried employees to whom clause A.1.1(f) applies, where an employee works any hours on the declared or prescribed part-day public holiday they will be entitled to the appropriate public holiday penalty rate (if any) in this award for those hours worked.

(f) Where an employee is paid an annualised salary under the provisions of this award and is entitled under this award to time off in lieu or additional annual leave for work on a public holiday, they will be entitled to time off in lieu or pro-rata annual leave equivalent to the time worked on the declared or prescribed part-day public holiday.

(g) An employee not rostered to work on the declared or prescribed part-day public holiday, other than an employee who has exercised their right in accordance with clause A.1.1(a), will not be entitled to another day off, another day’s pay or another day of annual leave as a result of the part-day public holiday.

Senate Economics Committee – Inquiry into Unlawful underpayment of employees’ remuneration

The Senate has approved an inquiry into wage and superannuation "theft “by employers.

The inquiry comes after the admission by retail giant Woolworths that it had underpaid staff up to $300 million.

The Economics Committee is scheduled to report by the last sitting day in June next year.

The terms of reference are

  • indentify the best ways to uncover wage and super theft
  • determine how to protect those who expose underpayments
  • investigate the most effective ways to recover unpaid enntitlements
  • consider the tax treatment of recovered entitlements; and
  • weigh up changes to the exsiting legal fraework to assist with recovery and deterence

Review whether government procurement practices can be modified to ensure that public contracts are not awarded to businesses that have engaged in wage and superannuation theft.

Submissions from interested parties due by 14 February 2020. More Information

Parliamentary inquiry into an Australian Standard for the training and use of privately contracted security and detection dogs

On 16 October 2019, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement commenced an inquiry into the development and introduction of an Australian Standard in relation to the training and use of privately contracted security and detection dogs, with particular reference to:

  1. the adequacy of current Australian arrangements, and the potential benefits of introducing a National Standard;
  2. funding, administration, and enforcement implications of the introduction of a National Standard;
  3. the nature and effectiveness of models adopted in overseas jurisdictions;
  4. any issues arising in the context of the work of law enforcement agencies, including the Australian Federal Police, in relation to the training and use of privately contracted security and detection dogs, or insights from law enforcement that might help guide the development of an appropriate National Standard;  and
  5. any related matters.

The purpose of this letter is to draw your attention to the inquiry and to invite you or your organisation to make a written submission. There is no requirement to address the full terms of reference and you may choose to comment only on the terms of reference that are of relevance to you. The committee would appreciate submissions by 17 January 2020.

The committee is seeking to publicise its work as widely as possible and would appreciate you referring this letter of invitation to any individual, group, or organisation that you think would like to contribute to the inquiry.

The committee is seeking written submissions in electronic form submitted online or sent by email to le.committee@aph.gov.au as an attached Adobe PDF or MS Word document. Alternatively, written submissions may be sent to:

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Submissions should include contact details, should the committee or secretariat need to contact you. Personal contact details are removed from submissions before publication.

Please note that submissions are confidential until the committee releases them. You must not release your submission until the committee advises that it has accepted and released it publicly. Submissions are protected by parliamentary privilege but the unauthorised release of them is not.

The committee will normally make submissions public unless there is a request for confidentiality. If you would like your submission or part of it to be kept confidential please say so clearly in the submission. The committee will consider requests for confidentiality, but cannot make promises in advance. If you have concerns about confidentiality, I encourage you to call me to discuss this before lodging the submission.

Notes on making submissions are available from the website. The committee secretariat can also assist you: phone (02) 6277 3419 or email le.committee@aph.gov.au. More information about this committee is available at: www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business
/Committees/Joint/Law_Enforcement

Fair Work Ombudsman recovers $40 million for workers

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s 2018-19 Annual Report reveals a significant increase in recovered wages, record visits to our resources and firm enforcement of workplace laws.

Fair Work Inspectors recovered more than $40 million for 18,000 underpaid employees during the financial year - the highest total recoveries figure in the regulator’s history.

In 2018-19, the FWO resolved more than 29,000 workplace disputes between workers and businesses. There was a record 17.8 million visits to www.fairwork.gov.au to access our information and the Fair Work Infoline answered 380,000 calls from workers and employers.

The agency announced its annual compliance and enforcement priorities earlier in the year, and also strengthened its compliance and enforcement policy.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said the agency’s achievements show its commitment to promoting harmonious, productive, cooperative and compliant workplace relations.

“I am extremely proud of the agency’s work resolving employment disputes throughout the year, which has helped return wages to workers and kept employment relationships intact.”

“In line with our priorities, we will continue our important work educating employers and employees, targeting high-risk industries, protecting vulnerable workers and improving compliance across Australian workplaces in the year ahead,” Ms Parker said.

“We urge employers to actively check they are paying their staff correctly and access our free resources for help. We will take enforcement action against employers who break the law.”

The FWO had 67 matters before the courts as of 30 June 2019, in many cases alleging exploitation of vulnerable workers. Over 80 per cent of new litigations involved protecting migrant workers, with the agency securing court penalties of $1.8 million in matters including this cohort.

The FWO secured more than $4.4 million in court-ordered penalties, including a record penalty of $105,000 for a business’s failure to comply with Fair Work Commission Orders.

Over 50 per cent of litigations filed involved businesses in the fast food, restaurants and cafe sector. The FWO secured $1.6 million in court penalties against employers in the sector.

Inspectors issued $479,900 in on-the-spot fines for pay slip and record-keeping breaches.

Anonymous reports to the FWO increased, with over 16,000 reports received, which included over 1200 reports made in languages other than English. Inspectors conducted more than 2800 workplace audits, strategically targeting sectors at high risk of non-compliance.