Do you employ staff on annual salaries? If yes, important legislation is now in place that affects you. Make sure you’re covered. Read on to find out what you need to do.

The Fair Work Commission handed down a decision last year to protect the rights of workers paid on an annual salary, specifically in the areas of overtime hours. Many businesses employ full-time staff on an annual salary, and in many cases these employees work overtime as needed without further compensation. This new law ensures employees are not underpaid or otherwise disadvantaged by the annual salary contract.

This decision affects full-time employees on an annual salary arrangement and covered under the following awards: 

Category 1

  • Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2010 
  • Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010 
  • Contract Call Centres Award 2010 
  • Hydrocarbons Industry (Upstream) Award 2010 
  • Legal Services Award 2010 
  • Mining Industry Award 2010 
  • Oil Refining and Manufacturing Award 2010 (clerical employees only) 
  • Salt Industry Award 2010 
  • Telecommunications Services Award 2010 
  • Water Industry Award 2010 
  • Wool Storage, Sampling and Testing Award 2010 

Category 2 

  • Broadcasting and Recorded Entertainment Award 2010 
  • Local Government Industry Award 2010 
  • Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010 
  • Oil Refining and Manufacturing Award 2010 (non-clerical employees) 
  • Pharmacy Industry Award 2010 
  • Rail Industry Award 2010 
  • Horticulture Award 
  • Pastoral Award 2010 
  • Health Professionals Award 2010

Category 3 

  • Marine Towage Award 2010 
  • Restaurant Industry Award 2010 
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 

If you employ full-time staff on an annual salary your business will be now required to do the following:

  • Inform the employee in writing on the specific provisions (overtime, allowances, etc) included in their annual salary. 
  • Calculate the employee’s annual salary and notify employees in writing how the calculation was performed. 
  • Specify in writing the maximum of ordinary hours which would attract a penalty payment and any overtime hours not included in the annual salary.  
  • For each pay cycle, record the employee start times, unpaid breaks and have the employee to sign or acknowledge as accurate. 
  • Each year, or at the end of employment, check that each employee hasn’t been underpaid by doing a reconciliation (compare the annualised salary the employee received with the actual hours worked) and pay any shortfall within 14 days. 

A written agreement will be required to enter an annualised salary arrangement, except for employees covered under the awards of Category 1. This affects every contract signed since March 1st.

What you need to do now:

  • Businesses should check the correct award and classification for each full-time annual salaried employee. 
  • For employees covered by category 2 and 3 awards, employers should ensure an agreement is put in place to confirm the arrangement. If you have a current contract in place, ensure that a well-drafted set-off is included. 
  • Calculate the employee’s annual salary including all penalties, overtime rate etc. and ensure the employee is not underpaid.  
  • Update your record-keeping systems to ensure all full-time employees’ hours are recorded accurately. You could use paper or online timesheets to do that, or even an online app such as ‘Record my Hours’ created by the Fair Work Ombudsman.   
  • Ensure an alert is in place to reconcile the employees’ pay every year and pay any shortfall if you find any.  

This is a significant change, and will generate a large amount of work for some businesses. If you need help with any areas listed here, or if you need any advice on how to handle things going forward, email us back, or call our advice line on 1800 577 525.

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