Question: I’ve heard about the recent changes to employment law. What do I need to do?

Major changes to employment law have been discussed in the media lately. Some of these have come into effect, while others are yet to be passed into law. Here is a summary of what’s going on:

  • The minimum wage changed on 1 April 2018. The adult minimum wage is now $16.50 per hour (before tax). The starting out and training wage rates are both $13.50 per hour (before tax).
  • It is proposed 90 day trial periods will be restricted to employers with fewer than 20 employees. If this happens, employers with 20 or more employees may find themselves relying more on probationary periods and running more stringent recruitment processes. The Restaurant Association will issue updated employment agreements and guidance to its members once any changes have been finalised.
  • Set entitlements to rest and meal breaks are proposed to be re-introduced (10 minute break for 2-4 hours of work, 10 and 30 minute break for 4-6 hours of work, and 2×10 and 1x 30 minute break for 4 to 8 hours of work). Again, these are proposed changes and have not been passed into law.
  • There are also a number of proposed changes in relation to unions. We will keep you posted in relation to this.
  • Primary carer leave will go up from 18 weeks to 22 weeks from 1 July 2018, and will increase to 26 weeks from 1 July 2020.
  • ‘Keeping in touch’ days have extended from 40 to 52 hours from 1 July 2018, and will increase to 64 hours from 1 July 2020.