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10 ways the Federal Budget affects workplace relations

The 2021–2022 Federal Budget included 10 key items that you should be aware of, as, if the relevant legislation is enacted, they will affect you when managing your workforce.
  1. Student visa-holders may work more than 40 hours per fortnight, as long as they are employed in the tourism or hospitality, agriculture, health and aged-care sectors.
  2. $10 million is being provided over 4 years to:
    1. implement regulatory technology solutions to assist employers to interpret and comply with modern awards; and
    2. explore and promote new ways of assisting employers through regulatory technology.
  3. $8 million is being provided over 4 years (and $2 million per year ongoing) to the Registered Organisations Commission to enhance its capacity to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009.
  4. $9.3 million is being provided over 4 years to support the implementation of the Government’s response to the Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report, including for the Respect@Work Council Secretariat.
  5. $6 million is being provided over 4 years to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and the Australian Public Service Commission to strengthen reporting on sexual harassment prevalence, prevention and response.
  6. Comcare will provide sexual harassment education to Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) inspectors and employers within the Commonwealth WHS system.
  7. The Government will amend the Migration Act 1958 to strengthen migrant worker protection in response to recommendations of the Report of the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce.
  8. The Government will remove the cessation of employment taxing point for the tax deferred Employee Share Schemes (ESS) that are available for all companies. Currently, under a tax deferred ESS, where certain criteria are met, employees may defer tax until a later tax year (the deferred taxing point). The deferred taxing point is the earliest of:
    1. cessation of employment;
    2. in the case of shares, when there is no risk of forfeiture and no restrictions on disposal;
    3. in the case of options, when the employee exercises the option and there is no risk of forfeiting the resulting share and no restriction on disposal; or
    4. the maximum period of deferral of 15 years.

This change will result in tax being deferred until the earliest of the remaining taxing points.

  1. The Government will remove regulatory requirements for ESS where employers do not charge or lend to the employees to whom they offer ESS. Where employers do charge or lend, requirements for unlisted companies making ESS offers that are valued at up to $30,000 per employee per year will be streamlined.
  2. The current $450 per month minimum income threshold under which employees do not have to be paid the superannuation guarantee by their employer will be removed with effect 1 July 2022.
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