Payroll Archives - BUSY01 and First Class Accounts Ovens and Murray

Category Archives for "Payroll"

vaccinations and the workplace

Vaccinations and the Workplace

Vaccinations and the Workplace

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has released guidance for employers on vaccinations and the workplace.

Currently, there are no laws in place that allow employers to order existing employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The Australian Government policy is that vaccinations are voluntary. Each state and territory government is responsible for implementing vaccination plans.

There are some circumstances in which an employer may require existing or potential employees to be vaccinated, but most employers cannot enforce vaccinations. If there are state or territory laws that provide specific orders requiring vaccination of certain workers, then employers and employees must comply. However, the FWO states that no such orders exist right now.

Employers need to check Fair Work Act workplace protections and discrimination protections before making changes to any employment agreements to require vaccinations. Employers should also discuss any proposed changes to agreements with employees, including options for implementation and safe work practices.

The Fair Work Ombudsman COVID-19 Vaccinations & the workplace webpage has detailed information explaining rules about many aspects of vaccinations in the workplace. Visit the webpage to get details on when an employee can refuse, asking for evidence of vaccination, disciplinary action and lawful directions.

The Department of Health has a great tool to check eligibility for priority vaccinations for high-risk workers such as emergency services, border services, frontline healthcare or aged care and disability workers.

Safe Work Australia provides industry-specific information, including risk assessment and worker consultations. An employer has a duty to eliminate or minimise the risk of exposure in the workplace by cleaning, distancing and hygiene information.

Many employment situations may require legal advice before the employer can make any changes to vaccination policies.

Don’t get caught out by making unlawful changes to your workplace! Review your employment agreements and look at your options for keeping your workplace safe.

Single Touch Payroll Reporting for Closely Held Payees Mandatory from July

Single Touch Payroll Reporting for Closely Held Payees Mandatory from July

Closely held payees must be reported via Single Touch Payroll from July 2021. Now is the time to get organised.

Does your business make payments to closely held payees? If so, you will need to start reporting these payments via Single Touch Payroll (STP) from July 2021.

Closely held payees include family members, directors or shareholders of a company and beneficiaries of a trust.

If you’re already reporting employees via STP, then it will be easy to include the extra payees from July.

If your business only pays closely held payees then you may not have signed up for Single Touch Payroll. If not, now is the time to establish a reporting solution.

Typically, closely held payees are paid amounts on the advice of the tax agent, and often these amounts are not calculated until they do your tax return. In this situation, the business can report estimated amounts via STP.

Three Ways to Report Payments to Closely Held Payees

Report actual payments on or before the date of payment if you lodge your own STP reports through your ATO business portal.

Report actual payments quarterly when the activity statement is due. This option is available if you have a BAS or tax agent lodge on your behalf and they already have the ATO quarterly reporting concession in place.

Report a reasonable estimate quarterly. Estimates should be based on amounts equal to or greater than 25% of the previous year’s payments.

If you’re reporting quarterly estimates, it’s important not to underestimate amounts to be paid, as the business may later be liable for superannuation guarantee late charge and penalties.

Small employers have until the individual’s tax return due date to submit the STP finalisation declaration. (For all other payees, the finalisation is due by the usual date of 14 July).

If you’d like help with Single Touch Payroll reporting for your closely held payees, talk to us about planning ahead for lodgement and calculating estimates. We’ll help organise your systems so you’re prepared for STP reporting obligations,

Five benefits of outsourcing your Payroll

Five benefits of outsourcing your payroll

When it comes to running a business, time is an irreplaceable commodity and we are seeing more and more businesses start to outsource specialist or essential services. If you employ people, then payroll is both a specialist and essential service.


Because outsourcing payroll allows business owners to focus on their strengths and core business, leaving the complexities of systems and compliance to experts.

With the right team behind you, the benefits of outsourcing your payroll can be realised almost immediately.

Here are five benefits of outsourcing your payroll.

1. Save time

By outsourcing your payroll, time spent on compliance, regulations, and training staff on using internal systems is eliminated. Cloud-based payroll services can also eliminate time spent by HR updating entitlements, leave and benefits.

2. Save money

Having fewer full-time employees can cause a ripple effect on cost savings throughout an organisation, from HR and IT through to office space and utilities. Outsourcing to payroll services providers reduces the cost of hiring and retaining specialised staff – two activities that are expensive and increasingly seen as unnecessary.

3. Compliance

For many small business owners payroll isn’t a core competency. And that means the complexity of work place agreements and EBAs increases the risk of costly errors. Keeping up with the Australian government’s National Employee Standards (NES) vigilance and expertise to remain compliant.
Outsourcing to a specialist payroll provider ensures that the minimum standards are adhered to.

4. Simplified reporting

Outsourcing payroll provides complete transparency and access to accurate information that doesn’t need to be verified. Simplified reporting means, as a business owner, you can more effectively plan for growth and predict changes to your staffing needs.

5. Avoid losing payroll expertise

Outsourcing your payroll means your business maintains a consistent approach to payroll management. There’s no need to induct employees and role transfer can be reduced to the functions and outputs of the payroll service.

At the end of the day outsourcing payroll services allows you to focus on the aspects of your business that generate revenue.

Talk to us today about outsourcing your payroll so you can invest in strategic resources that increase value and drive the growth of your business.

contractor or employee

Contractor or Employee

Contractor or Employee 

What You Need to Know

Should your staff be contractors or employees?

There are many factors to assess and, as a business owner, it’s your responsibility to get it right.

So, what is the difference between a contractor and an employee?

An employee

  • works in the business and is integral to that business
  • has rights and entitlements under the Fair Work Act 2009
  • has a reasonable expectation of ongoing work, agreed hours and duties
  • is covered by the employer’s workers compensation insurance
  • is paid superannuation guarantee.

A contractor

  • is actively running and advertising their own business
  • is responsible for their own insurance, equipment, licenses and tax
  • has a high level of independence, discretion and control as to how and when the work is performed
  • is able to delegate work
  • is liable to fix mistakes at their own cost
  • may or may not be paid super depending on the nature of the work engagement.

It is the business owner’s legal responsibility to determine the nature of the work and the correct basis of engagement. We can help you get it right.

Multi Factor Test

There are many factors involved in deciding whether a worker is an employee or contractor. And the guidelines must be applied individually to each working relationship.

There is no single overriding factor, rather, the totality of the working relationship and nature of the work being done is taken into consideration.

Sole Trader as a Contractor May Not be Right

When sole traders are engaged as contractors, the business owner needs to check whether they really meet the criteria for being engaged as a contractor. Many sole traders engaged as contractors are not actively carrying on a business, and do not have the level of independence that a contractor should have. This is even if they have their own ABN. 

Sole traders are often engaged for their own services and labour. However they are not free to delegate the work to someone else and must work under the direction of the employing business. In this case, they should be engaged as an employee and not a contractor.

Factors to Consider

This is not an exhaustive list but some of the main factors to assess.

  • Is the worker engaged to achieve a specific result or are they engaged for their labour?
  • Are they able to delegate their contract to another worker within their own business?
  • How much choice do they have in where, when and how the work is performed?
  • Is the service integral to the business?
  • Do they advertise services and accept work from other businesses?
  • Who is liable to fix damages or mistakes?

Contractor or Casual Employee?

If you are not sure whether a worker is an employee or a contractor, check the ATO Employee or Contractor information first.

It’s okay to engage a worker as a contractor initially and to reassess the engagement three to six months later if the situation is unclear.

However, at that point, if the worker does not meet the contractor definition and you don’t need a permanent employee, put them on as a casual employee. This is often the best solution for both parties.  It means the employer is compliant with tax, super and employment laws. Plus the worker retains some flexibility while being paid super and having tax taken care of.

The ATO and the Fair Work Ombudsman are particularly concerned with the validity of sole traders treated as contractors. This is because they are the workers most frequently disadvantaged by being classified incorrectly as a contractor when they in fact meet the test for being an employee.

Get it Right to Avoid Penalties

A business that should have engaged a worker as an employee will be liable for back-payment of entitlements (such as leave, overtime and allowances), and superannuation.

Some situations are straightforward to work out. But many contractor or employee decisions are not so easy with so many factors to consider.

Let us help you get it right and sort out the tax and superannuation obligations for all your workers whether contractors or employees.

covid-19 advice for employers

Covid-19 Advice for Employers

Covid-19 Advice for Employers

Employers are facing unprecedented changes to the way of working, and many employers are having to do this with little or no preparation for such adversity.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has updated their information on Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws to provide advice to employers on managing the situation. The advice is general in nature and reminds employers that the usual provisions of the Fair Work Act apply.

It is important to note that the Fair Work Act does not have specific provisions or rules for a situation like this, that has such an unforeseen effect on business and employers.

Employers and employees need to come to their own arrangements. Employers must communicate with employees what their policies will be in this situation, making sure that they are lawful within the Fair Work Act provisions.

The Fair Work Ombudsman provides guidance on many topics including:

  • Health and safety in the workplace.
  • Directing employees to stay away from the workplace.
  • Quarantine and self-isolation.
  • Working from home.
  • Casual employees and independent contractors.
  • Redundancy and reduction of hours.

Essential Information for Employers

There is a great deal of information being published, and we encourage you to stay updated with the official websites.

What you need to do

We suggest you write a policy and plan for the business management of Covid-19 and provide this to employees as soon as possible. This should include guidance on working from home, productivity measures and expectations, personal hygiene, workplace safety, flexible working, user access to relevant tools and technology, leave policies, online security and safety, team communications, as well as any procedures or policies relevant to your business and industry in this situation.

Remember, stay safe and maintain connection and communication with your employees throughout this challenging time.

Need help navigating the support packages available?

Talk to us. We are here to help.

Gift cards

Gift cards and vouchers now have three year expiry

Gift cards and vouchers now have three year expiry

Gift vouchers can be a great way to attract customers, maximise marketing campaigns and increase sales - so long as you don’t get caught out by the new rules.

Does your business offer gift cards or vouchers? If so, new laws came into effect on 1 November 2019, which you'll need to adopt. Gift cards and vouchers issued on or after 1 November 2019 must meet the new requirements of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

New Gift Card Laws

  • Mandatory minimum expiry period of three years from the date of issue.
  • The actual expiry date must be listed on the card; alternatively, the supply date and expiry period, for example, “Valid for 3 years from 11/02/2020”.
  • Post-purchase fees are no longer allowed. Payment processing fees may be allowed, however activation, top-up, account keeping or balance enquiry fees are not.

There are some situations in which the new requirements don’t apply, for example if the card can be topped up, if it is part of a temporary marketing promotion or if it is donated free of charge for promotions. Visit ACL New Gift Card Laws webpage for full details.

If you have not met the new requirements on vouchers issued since 1 November, the new laws will still apply even if the actual voucher does not. Customers will be able to redeem the voucher within the three-year expiry regardless of what is stated on the voucher. Gift cards and vouchers issued before 1 November 2019 have the same expiry period and conditions of purchase as at the time of purchase.

What Next?

  1. Review your gift voucher terms and conditions.
  2. Update your printed and online vouchers and related marketing material.
  3. Check the information published on your website and social media.
  4. Make sure your internal processes and point-of-sale systems are brought up to date and remember to tell your staff of the changes.

Modern award annualised salary changes

Modern award annualised salary changes

Recent changes made by the Fair Work Commission mean that you need to review employment agreements to ensure they are compliant with the award requirements.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) late last year has varied a number of modern awards that include annualised salary provisions. The decision has also introduced the provision for annualised salaries into some other awards for the first time.

Whilst the actual specifics of the annualised salary provisions vary per award, there are some significant changes that affect all award terms in relation to annualised salaries. - We can help with the red tape.

What is an Annualised Salary?

Some awards permit employees to be paid an annual salary that covers all payments such as allowances, penalty rates and overtime. For many employers and employees, this has been a flexible and practical solution to avoid the need for timesheets and extra payroll administration.

The important changes

The changes may affect the ease and efficiency of your current payroll administration, as there are now extra records required for all employees paid an annual salary under an award provision. Note: this does not affect employees with a common law employment contract.

  • The agreement or arrangement must document the specific provisions of the award that are addressed.
  • The agreement must include reference to overtime or other penalty rates the employee would otherwise be paid, specified as an ‘outer limit’, or maximum number of such hours to be worked in each pay period. Outer limits must be specified separately for overtime and hours that would be subject to a penalty or loading.
  • Records of hours worked (and unpaid breaks) must be kept for each pay period and signed by the employee.
  • The employee must be paid for any extra hours that exceed the ‘outer limits’ as defined in the annual salary agreement.
  • Check the relevant award to see if an employment agreement is required. In some awards the employer can implement an annual salary arrangement without an employee agreement.
  • Document the calculation of the annual salary according to the requirements of the award. It is vital that the calculation shows that the employee is receiving at least as much as if they were paid according to the award hourly rates, including all wages, allowances, penalties, overtime and loadings. This will require breaking down the salary into its separate components.
  • Employer and employee must complete an annual salary review on the anniversary of the agreement or arrangement.

What you need to do now

  1. Make sure you are aware of the applicable modern award and check the annualised salary provisions.
  2. Check that the current annualised salary arrangements meet the new requirements of the award.
  3. Document the calculation as per the award conditions.
  4. Update existing agreements or implement new ones as needed.

The new provisions came into effect on 1 March 2020. Employers need to review all existing agreements for annualised salaries as soon as possible.

You will also need to consider the impact of the new requirements on your payroll administration and software.

There are many payroll software add-ons that can help to make administration easier if your current software does not have the required record-keeping tools built in.

Automation can ease your business workload

Automation can ease your business workload

Small and medium-sized businesses are spending on average 120 hours a year on admin tasks, according to recent research into productivity at UK SMBs.

If your people are spending 120 hours wading through tedious and unproductive admin, that’s bad for the business and for your overall efficiency. Fortunately, technology and software automation can go a long way towards automating the low-level admin tasks.

Better productivity through automation

Automation is an important way to ease your business workload, with a host of different business apps and cloud solutions offering ways to automate your admin.

With ‘smart business tools’ increasing in number and choice, software is utilising automation algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and cognitive solutions to help remove the mundane admin tasks from your workflows.

Core processes that will benefit from automation include:

Automated bookkeeping

Just take a photo of your receipts, expenses and invoices and ‘optical character recognition’ (OCR) technology will digitise the output and pull it through into your accounts software. No data entry, no human error and no lost receipts! We can do the rest to ensure your records are accurate.

Automated credit control 

Chasing up debts and late-paying customers takes time. Automated credit control apps track your debtor numbers and automatically sends out customised chaser emails as soon as an invoice is late. This reduces your credit control time, speeds up cash collection and cuts your aged debtor figure.

Automated payment collection

The easier it is to pay you, the faster your customers will pay. Automated card payments and cloud-based Direct Debit solutions allow you to automatically take payment from a customer as soon as an invoice is due. Some solutions will even automate the invoice matching and bank reconciliation process.

Automated reporting and forecasting 

The better your reporting and business intelligence, the easier it is to make informed decisions about your company strategy. Accounting platforms and fintech tools now offer automatic, real-time reporting and forecasting, giving you access to the important numbers and metrics, fast.

Automated digital marketing

Digital marketing is key to raising your brand’s profile. Marketing platforms offer important time-saving ways to schedule and post social media content, or email automation that sends a pre-programmed cadence of emails to specific target audiences within your wider customer base.

Talk to us about embracing the power of automation

If your admin is starting to hold you back, come and talk to us about how automation can pick up some of the heavy lifting as well as giving you the metrics you need for decision making. We can review you business processes and identify the automation opportunities, helping you choose the best apps to drive your business efficiently.

Contact us to discuss your automation opportunities. 

Reporting PAYGW

Reporting PAYGW correctly

Reporting PAYGW Correctly 

PAYG and claiming tax deductions

From July 1 2019, If you don’t meet PAYG withholding obligations for your workers, by not withholding tax from their payments and not reporting it to the ATO, you could lose your tax deduction.

This will apply to income tax returns lodged for the 2020 financial year and beyond.

If you withhold tax from payments to workers, you must withhold the required amount and report correctly to the ATO in order to receive a tax deduction for your business.

PAYG withholding and reporting obligations apply to payments for:

  • Salary, wages and other payments to employees
  • Directors' fees
  • Religious practitioner payments
  • Labour hire arrangements
  • Voluntary withholding arrangements
  • Payments to contractors with no ABN

Withholding rules still apply to cash payments. Similarly, for non-cash payments such as property or exchange of services, withholding rules still apply even if your worker agrees to receive a non-cash payment in place of money.


The payment of PAYGW to the ATO is a separate issue. The new rules are aimed at getting employers to report correctly and on time. Once you have reported an amount to the ATO, they expect payment of that obligation by the due date.

If you make an honest mistake, such as treating an employee as a contactor, you won’t be penalised. You can correct your mistake by lodging a voluntary disclosure

Talk to us

Contact us to review your PAYGW reporting obligations. 

Employee Payment Summaries are due soon – for the last time!

Employee Payment Summaries are due soon - for the last time!

The end of the payroll year will be here sooner than you think! We can help make the process easier by reviewing and validating your payroll figures prior to issuing payment summaries by July 14.

Once you start reporting under Single Touch Payroll, you will no longer be required to issue a Payment Summary. Your final payment summary to employees is due 14th July. After this date your employees can access their income statement through the ATO via myGov.

You’ll have two weeks from the end of the payroll year to issue your payment summary so it’s worthwhile preparing now to make the process easy.

Here’s what you will need:

Payroll Ch​​​​ecklist

  • Make sure you have all the necessary details for all employees, both current and any who have terminated throughout the year. The essential information is full name, date of birth, address, tax file number, and an email address if you are sending payment summaries electronically.
  • Review any terminated employees. Is the correct termination date recorded in your software? Are there any Employment Termination Payments (ETPs)?
  • Review allowances paid to employees and check which ones are required to be reported separately.
  • Review salary sacrifice payments to superannuation for Reportable Employer Superannuation Contributions (RESC) amounts.
  • Check any Reportable Fringe Benefit Tax (RFBT) amounts that should be included.
  • Do you plan to email payment summaries to employees? If so, advise employees of your intention to provide electronic versions and make sure the email address is secure and private. The electronic version must be non-editable and preferably generated directly from your payroll software.

Verify Your Payroll Numbers

It’s important to verify payroll figures before issuing payment summaries, in order to minimise the chance of errors and having to re-issue at a later date.

Once the payroll year is finalised at 30 June, you can then focus on analysing the payroll amounts for each employee and cross-checking against the numbers in your profit and loss accounts.

The end of the payroll year will be here sooner than you think! We can help make the process easier by reviewing and validating your payroll figures prior to issuing payment summaries.

Remember, this is the last year you will need to issue payment summaries. 

From 1 July, all employers must report to the ATO using Single Touch Payroll (STP).

Do you need more information about STP? We can help you set up your payroll ready for STP reporting.