The Wageline Newsletter March 2017 edition has been published today.
This edition features information on the Easter public holidays and a range of articles featuring the Employment of children in the fast food industry and 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 Cafe)
- unincorporated partnerships (eg Jane and Bob Smith trading as Jane's Cafe)
- unincorporated trust arrangements (Jane and Bob Smith as trustees for Jane's Cafe)
Wageline Newsletter is not relevant for businesses and organisations in the national industrial relations system which operates as:
- Pty Ltd businesses that are trading or financial corporations (eg Smith Pty Ltd trading as Jane's Cafe)
- 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.
Easter public holidays
The Western Australian public holidays for the 2017 Easter period are:
- Good Friday - Friday 14 April 2017
- Easter Monday - Monday 17 April 2017
WA award employees
Employers covered by a WA award should check the relevant award for details on public holiday entitlements and payment arrangements.
Some WA awards require employees to be paid additional rates on Easter Saturday. The most common of these are the Building Trades (Construction) Award, the Hairdressers Award and the Shop and Warehouse Award.
If your award is one of Wagelines top 35 awards, visit the WA award summaries page for further infromation. Other WA awards can be viewed on the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission website or contact Wageline for more information.
Award free employees
Full time and part time employees who would normally work on Good Friday or Easter Monday but who are not required to work solely because it is a public holiday are entitled to be paid for that day.
There are no minimum entitlements to additional rates of pay for working on a public holiday for award free employees. However, award free employees may have contracts of employment which specify other arrangements for payment.
Read more on Easter public holiday pay arrangements
Wageline's opening hours over Easter and Anzac Day
Over the Easter and Anzac Day period Wageline's opening hours will be:
Friday 14 April (Good Friday): Closed
Monday 17 April (Easter Monday): Closed
Tuesday 25 April (Anzac Day): Closed
Employment of Children in the fast food industry
The fast food industry is a major employer of young workers. The Department of Commerce is currently undertaking a proactive compliance campaign in the fast food industry across the Perth metropolitan area to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Children and Community Service Act 2004 which regulates the employment of children under the age of 15 years. All employers in Western Australia must comply with the provisions of the Children and Community Services Act.
The minimum age for employment in a shop, restaurant, fast food or takeaway food business is 13 years. Children aged 13 and 14 must have written permission from a parent and must not work during school hours, start work before 6.00am or finish after 10.00pm.
As part of the current campaign, Commerce will be contacting over 500 fast food employers and providing information to the head offices of franchise groups. Employers are being provided with an Employer Information Pack on employing children in the fast food industry to assist store owners and managers ensure all employment arrangements comply with the child employment laws.
The Employment Information Pack Employment of children in WA - shop, restaurant, fast food or takeaway food business is available on the Wageline website and contains:
- A fact sheet for employers on employment of children laws.
- A self-audit checklist to help employers operating a shop or restaurant, (including a fast food or a takeaway food business) to conduct a self-audit of compliance with the child employment laws.
- A template form for gaining written parental permission for employing children who are 13 or 14 years of age. The template form is provided in both Word and editable PDF format.
Doctor fined for obstructing industrial inspector
A Perth doctor has recently been ordered to pay a penalty of $4000 plus disbursements for obstructing an investigation into whether he correctly paid one of his workers.
The Industrial Magistrates Court ordered the penalties against Dr Patrick Nugawela in a default judgement last month after finding he had obstructed an industrial inspector from the Department of Commerce.
Dr Nugawela failed to provide relevant employment records to the inspector when required to do so.
When the inspector attended Dr Nugawela's surgery in Greenwood with another inspector, Dr Nugawela refused to answer questions and ordered the inspectors off the premises. He also instructed a staff member not to answer the inspectors' questions.
Department of Commerce Director Lorraine Field said the penalties reflected the seriousness of Dr Nugawela's conduct.
"Industrial inspectors have statutory powers to investigate complaints from employees where appropriate," Ms Field said. "Employers are obliged to provide records when required to do so - it's not optional."
The Court also ordered that Dr Nugawela provide the employment records to the inspector.
"If Dr Nugawela does not provide the records under court order, he may commit an offence and the Department will take further proceedings as necessary," Ms Field said.
The Department's investigation into whether the worker was correctly paid is ongoing. The worker no longer works for Dr Nugawela.
Long service leave page
The long service leave page on the Wageline website has been expanded to answer more of the common long service leave questions Wageline answers every day.
Additional information has been added on an employer's obligations for long service leave when a business changes ownership. Under the Long Service Leave Act 1958 an employer who buys a business or part of a business will take on the long service leave obligations for existing employees if there has been a transmission of business. This applies regardless of anything written in a sale contract.
Read more on long service leave
New guide to who is in the WA state system
A new guide to who is in the WA state system has been added to the Wageline website.
There are two industrial relations systems that operate in Western Australia, the state and the national system. Which system applies to a particular business or organisation and it employees depends on the type of business arrangement under which the employer operates.
Wageline's new guide to who is in the WA state system provides an overview of which type of businesses and organisations are included in the state industrial relations system and which are in the national system.
Read more on who is in the state system
Common questions to Wageline
Difference between employee and subcontracting
Wageline is regularly asked about the difference between subcontractors and employees. It is not as simple as calling a worker a contractor, or directing them to provide an ABN so that they can receive payment.
If a person is incorrectly engaged as a subcontractor but is legally considered an employee, the person could potentially be owed unpaid leave entitlements, wages and superannuation contributions.
Wageline has developed an Employee or Subcontractor Checklist which is designed to assist in understanding the key aspects of each type of working arrangement.
Read more about employee and subcontractor
Cashing out annual and long service leave
Wageline receives a number of calls each year about employees cashing out their annual leave or long service leave. It is important as an employer to be aware of the circumstances in which leave can be cashed out.
An employer and employee may agree to cash out the employee's long service leave. There are, however, important conditions that need to be met before this can happen.
Read more on cashing out long service leave
Most WA awards do not provide for cashing out of an employee's annual leave. The annual leave page of the Wageline website details the conditions that must be satisfied for an employee to cash out their annual leave.
Read more on cashing out annual leave