February 2018. . . Cracking on with plans to increase the minimum wage rate to $20 per hour by 2021, the government has recently set a new minimum wage rate of $16.50 with effect from 1 April 2018. This is an increase of 75 cents.
The starting-out and trainee rates will also increase, from $12.60 per hour to $13.20 per hour.
Now is a good time for employers to review their current pay rates to ensure that no staff will be slipping below the new minimum wage rates come 1 April. That will be straight-forward for employees on an hourly wage, but employers will also need to think about salaried employees, particularly staff whose workloads can fluctuate significantly. Large variations in hours may mean their pay dips close to minimum wage thresholds in some pay periods. Failure to meet the prevailing minimum wage threshold can leave employers open to penalties of up to $50,000 for an individual; or for a company, the greater of $100,000 or three times the amount of the financial gain made. Non-compliant employers will also be publicly named, and may be stood down from hiring migrant workers for up to 2 years.
With Labour Inspectors closely monitoring minimum wage compliance, we also remind employers to ensure they are keeping accurate records of all hours worked and wages paid, so that they can prove compliance with minimum wage laws. Failure to keep such records can lead to infringement notices with penalties of $1,000 per breach, with a cap of $20,000 for multiple breaches in a three month period.
Get in touch with our employment team if you wish to discuss this further.