Wages to increase in July 2019! Get a Boot!

The 1st of July is coming upon us and it’s that time of the year where the Fair Work Commission make determinations on Modern Award pay minimums and the National Minimum Wage, currently $18.93 per hour, less taxation.

So, you’re a small business, you pay above the Modern Awards, or so you thought…. I’ve heard it time and time again where a small business fails to understand what is inside the applicable Modern Award for their business and what they guessed to be above the Modern Award minimum was sadly, on the low side and in fact below Modern Award requirements. The net result, underpaid employees, Fair Work Australia calling, back pays, audits and cancel the employee Christmas in July party. 

Here is an example, for you to consider….

Farmer Joe has a farm hand, full time permanent. The farm hand is covered by the Pastoral Award 2010 and is classified (yep, everyone gets a classification) as an FLH3. FLH3 means a farm hand with a bit of experience that does general broadacre farming duties. Farmer Joe pays the farm hand $20/hour less applicable taxes. That should be okay because if you look up the Pastoral Award 2010 it says that a FLH3, full time employee has a minimum hourly rate of $19.75/hour less applicable taxes. Done! Well, so you thought….

The reality of the FLH3 full time farm hand is that Farmer Joe has told the farm hand that the $20/hour covers everything. Let’s have a look:

Annual Leave Loading is required, each time the employee goes on Annual Leave you need to pay a loading whilst they are away. You can push this annual amount into the hourly rate, but it will add approximately $0.26/hour to your minimum rate of $19.75/hour.
The farm hand always works a 40-hour week, not 38 hours per week as outlined in the Pastoral Award 2010, so there is 2 hours each week of overtime to paid. Farmer Joe is already behind because he hasn’t been paying the Annual Leave Loading into the rate, but he does give the farm hand a load of fuel each week to compensate. No, no, not allowed. Benefits do not give account for the requirement to pay overtime at the rate of time and half or double time on Sunday’s. 

All the farm hand must do is a bit of sheep swabbing with poison. The $20/hour covers it! Ahh sorry no again! In accordance with the Pastoral Award 2010, the farm hand needs to receive a 17% loading on top of the ordinary rate for the handling of such poisons and/or sheep swabbing for more than 3 days in a row.

Honestly, this is ridiculous I hear you say. Who is going to know all these little things? The answer is that your millennium employee knows the Pastoral Award 2010 by date and clause and has Fair Work Australia hot line saved as one of their favourites in their phone. Farmer Joe is now in breach of the Pastoral Award 2010 and well below the minimum amounts articulated in the Pastoral Award 2010 for a farm hand.

What you need is a BOOT! Really that is a bit rough. Yes, a Better Off Overall Test before 1st of July 2019 by Hendy HR Consulting Pty Ltd to ensure that you are paying your employees correctly and understand the pending adjustments that will need to be made. 

Information prepared by Alicia Hendy, Hendy HR 

Call Hendy HR on 0411 254 865 or email for an appointment at ahendy@hendyhr.com.au