Payroll Archives - BUSY01 and First Class Accounts Ovens and Murray

Category Archives for "Payroll"

Cashing Out Annual Leave

Cashing Out Annual Leave

Are your staff asking to cash out annual leave? 

There are some important rules to remember before paying out annual leave.

Firstly, you must review the employee’s modern award to check that cashing out leave is explicitly allowed.

Most awards do allow for excess annual leave to be paid out, and we give you the general rules here – but you need to check the relevant award for special regulations before agreeing to cash out leave.

Common Rules for Cashing Out Leave

  • The leave must be paid at the same rate as if the employee takes the leave. That means you must pay leave loading if it applies, and super is always payable on cashed out annual leave.
  • The employee must have at least four weeks of leave left available after paying out any excess amount.
  • You can’t pay out more than two weeks of leave per year.
  • While leave accrues as usual when an employee takes leave, you don’t need to accrue leave on cashed out leave.
  • You need to have a written agreement with the employee, stating the number of hours being paid, the total amount and when you will pay it.
  • Remember to check the employee’s award first and keep all records and calculations!

You Can Direct Employees to Take Excess Leave

You can't force an employee to cash out leave, but you can ask an employee to take leave in some circumstances. If you have employees accruing a lot of leave, check the award for guidance. For example, some awards allow an employer to direct an employee to take one week or more of leave if they have more than eight weeks accrued, give at least six weeks’ notice, and leave at least six weeks of leave available.

Need Help?

Remember, annual leave is paid out when an employee leaves your business, so it’s good to keep an eye on how much is owing and not let too much accrue.

Also, employees should be taking leave regularly for their health and wellbeing.

If you need help, talk to us, and we can review your payroll, leave accruals and modern awards to help manage employees’ annual leave.


Can you require employees to be vaccinated in Australia?

Can you require employees to be vaccinated in Australia?

Vaccination is an effective way to help protect against COVID-19. But as an employer, can you require your team to be vaccinated?

While in some situations, you may be able to require employees to get vaccinated, another approach is to openly support vaccination through your workplace.

Open support for vaccination could mean:

  • Giving your employees paid time off for their vaccination appointments.
  • Making reliable vaccination information available on shared portals, like your intranet. The Department of Health has useful information on how they work, safety and side effects, and details about each vaccine.
  • Planning for the eventuality that some employees will not be vaccinated, and considering alternative arrangements, like work from home.

It’s important to remember that employees will have access to vaccination at different times and adjust any communications accordingly.

Employers must comply with work health and safety law and may only require employees to be vaccinated under certain circumstances.

If you are thinking about introducing a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for your business, you should seek legal advice before doing so.

The exploration process should also include understanding your consultation obligations through reviewing any applicable award, agreement, employment contract or existing workplace policy.

If you do introduce a mandatory vaccination policy, you should cover travel costs and paid time off for employees to attend vaccination appointments that are during work hours.

You should be aware that some employees may need to use paid sick leave to recover after being vaccinated.

For employees that have used all their sick leave, you may wish to offer them the option to use annual leave or another leave entitlement. You may also wish to give casual staff members the option to adjust their working schedule ahead of time.

For more information on workplace rights and your obligations, visit fairwork.gov.au. And for additional information on vaccination and managing COVID-19 risk in your workplace visit SafeWork Australia.


Employee Super Changes

Employee Super Changes

Employee Super changes from 1 November

From 1st November, if you have any new employees start work with you and they don’t nominate a specific superannuation fund, you may need to request their ‘stapled super fund’ details from the ATO.

We can help you with this.

Choosing a super fund

Most employees are eligible to choose a super fund when starting a new job. However, sometimes an employee might not make a choice.

For example, they might omit to complete the form, or they might not know the details of their existing fund or whether they actually have one.

This situation could leave the employer at risk of not meeting their superannuation guarantee obligations and incurring penalties.

Employers can request an employee’s ‘stapled fund’ (a fund linked to an individual) details from the ATO, starting from 1st November 2021.

What employers need to do from 1st November 

There are 3 steps.

1. Offer eligible employees and contractors a choice

When a new employee starts work, they can either specify a fund or decide to go with your default fund. Either way, you have an obligation to offer them a choice and pay super contributions into their chosen fund.

2. If no choice is taken, request details of stapled fund from the ATO

If the employee doesn’t make a choice. You can lodge a request for details of their stapled fund through ATO online services. You will need to provide the employee’s TFN and personal details.

3. Pay super contributions into the stapled fund

Where the ATO provides details of a stapled fund you must pay super guarantee contributions into it.

Essentially, you must take all steps you can to allow employees choice of super fund. But in cases where all avenues are exhausted you can use your default fund.

As your BAS Agent, we can lodge ATO requests for stapled funds on your behalf, including bulk requests where there are 100 or more new employees.

Get in touch. We’re here to help!

4 day week

Could a 4-day week be a good fit for your team?


Could a 4-day week be a good fit for your team?

The pandemic has acted as an impetus for reflection, with many workers and business people reassessing the hours they work and the priority that work has in their lives.

A survey from Slack showed that 72% of respondents would prefer a hybrid approach to work – i.e. a mix of remote and office work. But there’s also a growing belief that we should be working fewer hours too and aiming for a ‘4-day week’. This would mean less time in the workplace and more time with our friends and families, with a greater level of underlying happiness as a result.

But do your people want to work fewer hours? Is the company ready to cope with a reduced staff on hand to get the job done? And what is the overall impact of working a shorter week?

The advantages of a 4-day week

The suggestion of a 4-day week is something that's been around for a while, but increasingly there's a ground-swell of support for the idea of working shorter hours and achieving a better work/life balance as a result.

In Iceland, 2,500 workers (1% of the total Icelandic population) took part in a trial of the 4-day week between 2015-2019. Most workers moved from a 40-hour week to a 35 or 36-hour week, giving them one extra day to focus on things outside of the workplace. The trail was a big success and has resulted in 86% of Iceland’s workforce now working reduced hours.

As a business owner, you’re no doubt already thinking ‘But how can my business still function if my employees are working less hours and are being less productive?’. But the interesting outcome was that productivity wasn’t negatively affected by this move to reduced hours.

So, could a 4-day week actually be a good fit for your team?

Your employees are just as productive

A 4-day week was trialled by New Zealand company Perpetual Guardian and the results were surprising. After spending two months testing a 20% shorter week, they found that their employees were ‘happier, more focused, and producing the same amount of work’. The Icelandic trial found the same result, that workers were equally as productive, with no drops in output, when working for only 4 days in the week.

Your team still earns the same money

One potential worry for your employees is a drop in pay if they are working less hours. But under a 4-day work scheme, you continue to pay your team the same wages or salaries. So, although your employees are working less hours, there’s no drop in their income and no resulting money worries.

Your team is happier and more engaged 

Results of 4-day week trials globally have shown that employees on reduced hours are happier, more engaged and more energised for their work. So, rather than pushing your team to work a 40+ hour week and risking fatigue, burnout and disengagement, you ease off on the throttle. This give your employees a less pressurised work environment and a better level of happiness. And, as we know, a happy workforce is also a productive workforce.

A more sustainable business model

With your people spending less time in the office, factory or workspace, your business will be using fewer resources – and having less of an impact on the planet. Your utility bills will reduce, you’ll need fewer office supplies and your people won’t be commuting as frequently – all of which is great for your carbon footprint and the overall sustainability of your business.

Talk to us about the financial impact of a 4-day week.

Adopting a 4-day week does have a range of different benefits for your employees. And creating a happy, productive and engaged workforce is always a good thing to achieve.

If you’re concerned about the financial impact of a 4-day week, come and talk to us. We can look at your sales and revenue figures, alongside your staff utilisation numbers, to show you how your margins can remain the same (or even higher) by adopting a reduced working week.

Single Touch Payroll Phase 2

Single Touch Payroll Phase 2 is Nearly Here


Single Touch Payroll Phase 2 Expansion is Nearly Here!

The expanded Single Touch Payroll (STP) Phase 2 is due to start on 1 January 2022.

However, the ATO has recently announced that there will be some flexibility with the reporting start date being allowed up to 1 March 2022 if the business is not ready by 1 January.

Businesses must now report all employees via STP. Plus, concessional reporting options are no longer available unless the employer has extraordinary circumstances.

It's important to note that employers should be reporting STP to the ATO on the day they pay employees.

What’s New with the Expanded Phase 2?

The STP Phase 2 report includes extra fields to allow for more detailed payroll information. The additional details enable the data to be reported to multiple government agencies using standard payroll categories.

This means the government agencies receive accurate data directly from the employer without extra forms or time-consuming administration.

STP Phase 2 Improvements

  • More income types and related special tax treatment.
  • Reporting gross pay in separate elements such as bonus, commission or overtime.
  • New employee tax file number declarations lodged directly with the ATO.
  • Employee termination information.
  • Clearer superannuation and lump sum payment reporting.
  • Easier for employees at tax time and when dealing with government agencies.
  • Better matching employer payroll data, employee tax return information, government agency payments and business activity statements.

The main payroll software providers are now bringing in phase 2 reporting categories, and in some cases, the changes have already happened in the background.

If you’re not already using an STP enabled payroll product, or you want to upgrade your software, talk to us about implementing a solution to make STP reporting quick and easy.

We can set you up with the right software or submit all the reports on your behalf.

Streamline your business administration with digital record keeping

Streamline your business administration with digital record keeping

Streamline your business administration with digital record keeping

Good record keeping is the mainstay of accounts management. It assists you to both meet your compliance obligations and provide verification for all your business transactions.

The Government requires that relevant records exist to support all business transactions – purchases, sales, payroll, and other business matters such as loans or foreign currency dealings. It is a business owner’s responsibility to maintain and store accurate records for all financial transactions.

Did you know that you are allowed to store all business records digitally? This is both more efficient and sustainable than having to keep years’ worth of paper records at your office.

The most important thing to take care of if you are moving to electronic record keeping is the security of your information.

Using cloud accounting platforms, such as Xero, with add-on apps and systematic electronic record keeping makes it so much easier to run your business. 

This is because you will not waste time trying to find documents when you need them; whether that’s for yourself, your bookkeeper or your tax agent.

Most government departments allow business records to be either in paper or digital format. The legal requirements for record keeping are the same, regardless of format.

All records must be:

  • True and correct
  • Unaltered once stored
  • In English and legible
  • Stored in a secure system, whether physical or digital
  • Easily accessible if required
  • Held securely for the statutory five to seven years, depending on the type of record.

For best protection, store records both locally on your business computers and secure external online storage. This makes the records easily accessible from anywhere at any time.

Always take care of who has what level of access to your documents and manage user access accordingly.

If you need help understanding which apps will work with your business systems, we'd love to hear from you.

PAYGW and PAYGI

What’s the Difference Between PAYGW and PAYGI?

What’s the Difference Between PAYGW and PAYGI?

Many people running a business and employing people are unsure about the difference between PAYGW and PAYGI.

They are not the same thing!

PAYG stands for ‘pay as you go’. This is the means the ATO uses to obtain tax payments from both employees and business owners.

Paying tax ‘as you go’ throughout the year means you don’t have to pay it all in one lump sum at the end of the tax year.

PAYG Withholding for Employees Income Tax

PAYG withholding refers to the income tax an employer withholds from employees’ gross wages to meet their personal income tax liabilities.

Employers are required to remit the employees’ withheld tax to the ATO each month or quarter, with the business activity statement (BAS) or the monthly instalment activity statement (IAS).

PAYG withholding applies to payments employers make to employees, directors, office holders and labour-hire workers.

PAYG can also be withheld from non-employees: contractors with a voluntary withholding agreement, some payments to foreign residents and payments to suppliers where an ABN has not been quoted.

PAYG Instalments for Business Income Tax

If you run your own business, you'll need to plan for income tax payments once you make more than the taxable threshold.

PAYG instalments allow you to pay an amount towards an expected tax bill. Amounts are based on business or investment income from the previous tax year.

Once you complete your tax return, the amounts already paid are offset against the total amount of tax due. You will then receive either a bill for extra tax or if you have paid too much, you will receive a refund.

Usually, when you start in business, you don't pay any tax instalments until you have completed the first year’s tax return.

However, if you’re new to business, you can voluntarily enter into the PAYG instalment system to start contributing towards your next tax bill. This is worth considering if you have done better than expected in your first year!

You can pay PAYG instalments by using the ATO determined amount based on information in the last tax return (instalment amount) or using the ATO defined percentage rate applied to your income (instalment rate).

The first method is the simplest; however, if your income varies a lot from one quarter to another, it may be better to use the instalment rate so you know you have put aside the correct amount based on your actual income.

PAYG Planning for Cash Flow

If you’re in business or considering employing people soon, you’ll need to plan for PAYG instalments and possibly PAYG withholding so you can meet your ATO tax reporting and paying obligations. 

Planning ahead means you’ll never be caught short with cash flow difficulties.

Talk to us to learn more about income tax responsibilities as an employer and business owner

What value can automation bring to your business

What value can automation bring to your business?

What value can automation bring to your business?

Automation has the capacity to revolutionise your efficiency and productivity. But how many of the automation features that are available to you are actually being used?

Could you be getting more value by building automated processes into your operational framework?

Removing the manual workload to streamline your processes

There’s a very simple mantra when it comes to making the most of automation

If there’s a manual task in your business that’s taking up time, automate it now!

The more time you and your team spend on low-level administration, data-entry and form-filling, the less time you have available for actually running your business.

With your software tools maximised, your automated processes can be chugging along in the background, doing the heavy lifting and freeing up your time to focus on client service, sales and strategy etc.

So, which elements of your everyday operations could you be automating? And which apps and software solutions can help you to achieve your automation goals?

Here are some areas where automation and smart systems can really help to add value

Automated bookkeeping and digitisation of paperwork

Apps like Dext (formerly Receipt Bank) offer you the opportunity to automate your bookkeeping and record-keeping. These solutions let you snap a photo of a receipt or invoice, digitise the contents and then automatically create an expense claim or bill in your accounting system. There’s no keying in and the whole process is synced with your choice of cloud accounting platform.

Automated employee expenses

Apps like DiviPay give you automated control over your employee expenses. Using either virtual or physical credit cards, your staff can pay for expenses and payments are then automatically synced with your main accounting platform.

That means no late expenses claims, no need for petty cash and no wasted time keying in the receipts. All employee expenses can be tracked, measured and paid, with the whole expenses process automated from start to finish.

Automated payment collection from your customers

With payment gateways like Stripe and GoCardless you can automate your cash collection. By using a modern payment gateway, you make it easier for clients to pay their bills. 

But you also automate the actual cash collection and bank reconciliation process too. Money can be instantly paid to your main business account and all the transactional data pulled across to your accounting platform. That means less admin, and faster payments too.


Automated marketing and social media posts

Digital marketing is key to finding customers and growing your business. You can automate a large chunk of your marketing work. These solutions let you create automated emails, target specific customer audiences and track your return on investment (ROI) in forensic detail.

Talk to us about understanding the different App options to help you automate your business.

Employing Casuals? Here’s What You Need to Know About the New Rules

Employing Casuals?

Here's what you need to know about the new rules.

Casual Employment New Rules from March 2021

The Fair Work Act 2009 has been amended to enforce several new rules for employing casual workers.

The Act includes a statutory definition of casual employment, a pathway for casual employees to become permanent, and a Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS).

Definition of Casual Employee

A casual worker does not have an agreed pattern of work or an advance commitment to ongoing work from the employer. Therefore, there is no consistent or guaranteed work schedule, and the employee is paid an hourly rate plus casual loading according to the relevant modern award.

If you require employees to agree to a regular roster well in advance of scheduled work and rely on them as an integral member of your team, talk to us about whether the employee should be considered a permanent employee. True casuals can choose whether or not to work when you offer them shifts.

Permanent part-time and full-time employees have a set roster of work and a commitment from the employer to ongoing work. For full details of casual employees, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman Casual Employees webpage.

Casual Conversion Pathway to Permanent Employment

Employers of casuals are now obliged to offer casual workers the option to convert to permanent employment after 12 months of employment if the pattern of work has been regular and systematic during the last six months.

Some modern awards already have clauses that allow employees to request permanent work. The Act overrides individual award provisions and means that employers must now actively offer conversion to casual workers who meet the criteria for converting to a permanent position.

If there are reasonable business grounds for not making an offer of permanent employment, the employer must notify casual employees.

Casual Employment Information Statement

Employers must now provide the CEIS to all casual workers upon starting work. You must also continue to provide the National Employment Standards and Fair Work Information Statement. Visit the FWO Casual Employment Information Statement webpage for details and to download the form for your employees.

The CEIS outlines the rights of casual workers to become permanent employees in certain circumstances.

Review Your Casual Workforce

The rules around reasonable business grounds, when employees can refuse an offer, time constraints, and transitional provisions are complex.

First, check your employment contracts to make sure they meet the new definition of casual employment.

Then, put in place a process for assessing casual roles at the 12 month anniversary of the employee start date.

You’ll need to keep detailed records for casual employees to ensure you are complying with the changes.

Talk to us if you’d like assistance with managing your casual workforce payroll.

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