Federal Budget 2021-22: What Employers Need to Know

Published May 2021

The 2021-22 Federal Budget has brought both wins and additional costs for Employers. In this update, we’ve explored all the details and broken down the key items Employers should be aware of – enjoy!!

1. Superannuation Contributions to Rise

Effective 1st July 2021, super guarantee (compulsory employer contributions) will increase from 9.5% to 10%.

Employer contributions will continue to increase by 0.5% each financial year until contributions reach 12% in 2025. You can find out more about the further increases on the ATO website.

2. Superannuation Minimum Income Threshold Removed

Previously superannuation was usually only payable to an employee who earned $450 or more each month (gross), but this minimum income threshold will be removed. This means all employees will have an equal entitlement to superannuation contributions by their employer, regardless of their income.

3. Wage Subsidy for New Trainees and Apprentices

In an aim to reduce unemployment, JobTrainer has been extended to December 2022 and the Boosting Apprenticeships Commencements program will support an additional 100,000 placements (in addition to the 170,000 already funded). Businesses that take on new trainees and apprentices under these programs may be eligible for attractive wage subsidies.

You can read more about JobTrainer and Boosting Apprenticeships Commencement using these links.

4. Deregulation Package

$134.6 billion will fund a deregulation project over 4 years, aimed at reducing red tape, boosting efficiency and streamlining processes for businesses.

We are excited about this one as $10 million has been set aside for implementing regulatory technology to help employers interpret and comply with Modern Awards, and to explore other ways of supporting employers through technology.

5. Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

The National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan will receive $2.3 billion, which will (among many other things) provide a new network of physical and online mental health services for all Australians, including business owners. Some of the services currently available for business owners include:

· Counting on You by Deakin University

· NewAccess by Beyond Blue

· Ahead for Business

The funding will also boost mental health and suicide prevention services for the public, so there will be more support options available to employees requiring these services.

6. Increase in childcare subsidies

From July 2022, families with two or more children in childcare will be able to receive a 95% subsidy for each child, dependent on their income. The subsidy cap for couples earning over $189,390 (combined) will also be removed. This aims to benefit both families and employers, as this will (hopefully) improve childcare affordability and increase the percentage of women participating in the workplace.

7. COVID-19 Vaccines

The vaccine strategy for COVID-19 will receive a $1.9 Billion boost. This is to help accelerate the rollout of vaccines, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2021. While it is still voluntary for Australians to be vaccinated and in most cases employers should assume they can’t require their employees to be vaccinated, it is important to be aware of as employers play a positive role in encouraging vaccination in order to boost our economy.

Want to know more about COVID-19 vaccines and the workplace? Read the latest information on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

8. Award Rate Increases

While not included in the Federal Budget, it is usual practice for the Fair Work Commission to announce increases to National Minimum Wage and Modern Award wage rates in June each year (with effect from July). Be sure to keep an eye out for these updates as they become available.

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