Wageline Newsletter - December edition
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The Wageline Newsletter December 2016 edition has been published today.
This edition launches the new look for the Newsletter and features information on Christmas New Year public holidays and a range of articles featuring common questions employers ask Wageline.
Wageline Newsletter is an email service which provides updates on:
- increases to the state minimum wage and WA award rates of pay
- other changes to key WA awards
- critical issues employers need to know to comply with state employment laws
You can subscribe to the Wageline Newsletter on the Wageline Newsletter page.
Welcome to Wageline Newsletter
Wageline Newsletter provides information for employers in the state industrial relations system. It is relevant to businesses which operate as:
- sole traders (eg Jane Smith trading as Jane’s Café)
- partnerships (eg Jane and Bob Smith trading as Jane’s Café)
- unincorporated trust arrangements (Jane and Bob Smith as trustees for Jane’s Café).
Wageline Newsletter is not relevant for businesses and organisations in the national industrial relations system which operate as:
- Pty Ltd businesses that are trading or financial corporations (eg Smith Pty Ltd trading as Jane’s Café)
- incorporated associations and other non-profit bodies (that are trading or financial corporations)
If your business or organisation is a national system employer please visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for information on employment obligations.
Christmas and New Year public holidays
The Christmas / New Year period is rapidly approaching and it is important for employers to understand employment obligations for the festive season.
This season’s public holidays are:
- Christmas Day, Sunday 25 December 2016 / Monday 26 December 2016
- Boxing Day, Monday 26 December 2016 / Tuesday 27 December 2016
- New Year’s Day, Sunday 1 January 2017 / Monday 2 January 2017
Which day is the public holiday in terms of an employee’s pay and working arrangements will depend on their specific employment arrangements.
The Wageline website details Christmas and New Year public holiday payment arrangements for state system employees including specific information for:
- State system award free employees
- Shop and Warehouse Award employees
- Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers’ Award employees
- Hairdressers Award employees
Reasonable hours of work
As Christmas gets closer businesses will begin to extend their trading hours, meaning employees may be asked to work some extra hours. Wageline receives calls from employers every year, around this time, about how many extra hours their employees are allowed to do.
Employees can only be required to work 38 hours per week (or any other standard working week set by a WA award) plus reasonable additional hours. The Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 specifies a range of factors employers must consider when asking an employee to work additional hours.
New record keeping templates
Wageline has launched new versions of the popular record keeping templates for state system employers.
These six templates are designed to help small business employers meet their legal obligations for time and record keeping and keep accurate employee leave records. A payslip template is also available for providing employees with details on their pay each pay period.
A common record keeping requirement that employers fail to meet is recording the right details in time and wages records, particularly hours worked and starting and finishing times for employees covered by WA awards.
Don't slip up - provide a payslip
Many WA awards require employers to provide payslips to their employees. Payslips are a good way to inform employees about what they have been paid. Providing a payslip answers a lot of questions employees have about whether they have been paid correctly and may reduce the number of claims being made against businesses for perceived underpayments.
Common questions to Wageline
Deductions from pay
Each year Wageline receives hundreds of calls from employers and employees regarding the issue of deductions from pay. A common question from employers is can they automatically deduct money from an employee if there has been an overpayment of wages.
It is unlawful for an employer to deduct any money from an employee’s wages unless that deduction has been authorised in writing by the employee, or the deduction is authorised by an award, agreement or court order.
A common question Wageline receives from employers and employees is -
"Can an employee take parental leave at the same time as their partner?"
The answer to this is yes. An eligible state system employee is able to request to take up to 8 weeks of unpaid parental leave at the same time that their spouse or partner takes a period of unpaid parental leave. This is called concurrent leave.
Employers commonly ask Wageline if a terminated employee must work for all of their notice period. Employers can choose whether they require this notice to be worked, or if they will pay the employee in lieu of the notice period.
Wageline receives many calls from employers and employees asking whether bereavement leave is a paid entitlement and if so what are the requirements for paid bereavement leave.
Employees, including casual employees are entitled to two days paid bereavement leave each time an immediate family or household member dies.
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