Annual Wage Review 2021
As part of the Annual Wage Review 2021 (the Review), the Fair Work Commission (FWC) announced a three-stage process to increasing the national minimum wage and all Award wages.
Most Awards increased on 1 July 2021, with the Retail Award then increasing on 1 September 2021. Finally, the remaining 21 Awards have increased from the first full pay period on or after 1 November 2021.
Most notably are increases in the Fitness Award, Hair and Beauty Award and the Hospitality Award.
As part of the Review, amendments were made to superannuation, including the introduction of ‘super stapling’, which deals with the super funds that are elected by employers or employees (as of 1 November 2021).
After 1 November 2021, employees may have a ‘stapled’ superannuation account – being an account linked to an employee which can be carried from job to job.
Under the current regime, if an employee does not nominate a superannuation fund when starting with a new employer, then the employer will ordinarily pay that employee’s superannuation into a ‘default’ superannuation fund, often specific to that industry.
Following the new legislation, if an employee has not nominated their own superannuation fund, employers will instead contact the ATO to confirm any existing superannuation details for the new employee.
If they have an existing superannuation fund linked to them, then the employer will be required to pay superannuation contributions into that fund.
Respect at work and sexual harassment
On 10 September 2021, the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Act 2021 (the Amendment Act) took effect, with the amendments addressing sexual harassment in the workplace, and introducing measures to allow for compassionate leave when employees have miscarried.
One of the major changes from the Amendment Act is the introduction of ‘Stop Sexual Harassment Orders’, which allow eligible workers to apply to the FWC for an order stopping any sexual harassment they may have experienced at work, including incidents which may have occurred before 11 November 2021 (subject to the risk of ongoing harm).
Where the FWC deems that it is a situation where sexual harassment has taken place, and will likely continue, the FWC can make orders such as a preventative order to stop the risk of ongoing harm but excludes any compensatory orders.
Written by Natalie Knight.