Employment changes from 1 July 2024: Minimum wage rates, unfair dismissal thresholds and more

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Changes to a number of employment rates, thresholds and limits in Australia came into effect on 1 July 2024, with implications for both employees and employers. New rights for workplace delegates and changes to laws regarding unions' right of entry are also in effect as of 1 July 2024. Below, learn more about how these updates and changes will affect conditions of employment, superannuation, and impact your workplace.

Increase to minimum wage

The Fair Work Commission’s Annual Wage Review 2023-24 decision increased award rates by 3.75%. The Commission has in turn been amending the wages specified under modern awards to reflect this increase.

The national minimum wage, which applies to employees who are not covered by an award or enterprise agreement, has also increased by 3.75% to $24.10 per hour, or $915.90 per week (based on a 38-hour week). For casual employees, the new national minimum wage is $30.13 per hour (which incorporates a 25% casual loading rate).

These increased minimum rates apply to an employee from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2024. Employers are urged to review their employees' pay rates and the terms of any applicable modern awards, to ensure that they are at or above the new minimum rates.

High income threshold

New threshold: $175,000

The high income threshold can alter conditions of employment governed by a modern award. Employees earning above the threshold are generally unable to claim unfair dismissal, and are also exempt from the general prohibition on fixed-term contracts for a period of more than two years. Learn more

Unfair dismissal compensation cap

New limit: $87,500

The unfair dismissal compensation limit specifies the maximum compensation available to an employee who has been unfairly dismissed. It is typically the lesser of half of the high income threshold or 26 weeks' of the employee’s pay. Learn more

Limit for tax-free component of genuine redundancy payments

New limit: $12,524 + ($6,264 x complete years of service)

Genuine redundancy payments refer to payments received by an employee who is dismissed because the job they were doing is redundant. This means the employee's position is no longer required to be performed by anyone, and this is not due to the ordinary and customary turnover of labour. The tax-free limit for a genuine redundancy payment is calculated using a base limit and a service-related component. Any amount over the tax-free limit is called an "employment termination payment" (ETP) and may be subject to different tax rules. Learn more

Superannuation guarantee rate

New rate: 11.5% (per annum)

The superannuation guarantee (SG) specifies compulsory superannuation contributions made by Australian employers on behalf of eligible employees. On 1 July 2024, the SG rate increased from 11% to 11.5%.

Under existing legislation, the final adjustment to the SG rate will occur on 1 July 2025 when it increases by an additional 0.5% to 12%. Learn more

Maximum superannuation contribution base

New limit: $65,070 (per quarter)

The maximum superannuation contribution base is a limit on the contribution an employer is required to make on behalf of an employee under the superannuation guarantee (SG) scheme in Australia.

Where an employee earns more than the maximum superannuation contribution base in a quarter, the employer is not obliged to make superannuation contributions on the excess. This is subject to any other obligations imposed on, or agreed to, by an employer such as by an award or an employment contract. Learn more

Concessional superannuation cap

New limit: $30,000 (per annum)

Concessional superannuation contributions are payments that are made into an employee's superannuation fund before tax. They are called "concessional" contributions because these contributions are taxed at a concessional rate of 15%, which is often lower than the rate paid if the money was taxed as income outside super. Concessional contributions have a cap, which is subject to change periodically. The cap increased from $27,500 to $30,000 on 1 July 2024. Learn more

Increase in paid parental leave

The amount of paid parental leave offered by the Federal Government for eligible workers has increased from 20 to 22 weeks commencing from 1 July 2024. The paid parental leave scheme will continue to increase by two weeks on 1 July of each year until 1 July 2026, when it reaches 26 weeks. Learn more

Delegates' rights terms in modern awards

From 1 July 2024, all modern awards have been varied to include a delegates' rights term, which can be accessed here.

The modern award term grants workplace delegates the following rights:

  • representation (right to represent the industrial interests of employees)
  • reasonable communication
  • reasonable access to the workplace and workplace facilities
  • reasonable access to training.

All enterprise agreements that are voted upon from 1 July 2024 must include a delegates’ rights term that is at least as favourable as the term included in modern awards. If a delegates' rights term in an enterprise agreement is less favourable than that which is in the modern award, the term in the modern award will apply.

Notice of entry: exemption from notice requirements

Generally, union officials need to provide written notice at least 24 hours before they enter a workplace to investigate suspected contraventions of the Fair Work Act.

From 1 July 2024, union officials who hold a valid entry permit can apply to the Fair Work Commission for an exemption certificate allowing them to enter a workplace without notice, where there is a suspected contravention and advance notice could result in evidence being destroyed.

The exemption certificate issued on this ground must specify:

  • the premises being entered
  • the name of the union and any permit holders that can enter
  • the date or dates on which entry may occur, and
  • details of the suspected contravention.

A permit holder must give a copy of the exemption certificate to any occupier or affected employer who is on the premises either before or as soon as practicable after entering the premises.

The Fair Work Commission has issued a fact sheet regarding these changes to right of entry. Learn more

For more information about these changes and how they impact you or your organisation, please contact a member of Lander & Rogers' workplace relations and safety team.

All information on this site is of a general nature only and is not intended to be relied upon as, nor to be a substitute for, specific legal professional advice. No responsibility for the loss occasioned to any person acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material published can be accepted.

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Grace Kerr