3 Important Legal Changes Around the Corner

by 9th of June, 2016

Make sure you know what the new terms are before the change date.

With the new financial year coming around the corner, it isn't just changes in your own business that you need to be taking note of. There are a few major changes ahead that will affect small business owners across the country.

So we've put together a quick rundown of three that you can't forget.

1. Minimum wage increase to $17.70 an hour

The Fair Work Commission issued the Annual Wage Review Decision on May 31. Because of a growth in real GDP by three per cent over 2015 compared to 2.2 the previous year, strong labour market conditions, historically low inflation and wage growth levels, and a growth in company profits, the review panel calculated to increase the minimum wage by 2.6 per cent.

Going up from $17.29 per hour, the change will affect around 1.86 million employees in Australia. If you this could impact you, it's important to keep up to date with when the changes will take effect.

"To not have to add the cost of another service or software package to be fully compliant is a good thing."

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2. SuperStream Compliance now required

The ATO's SuperStream program was designed to provide an efficient and consistent process for employers to manage their workers' contributions. It has been running for two years now and, as of June 30, those not participating will not be complying with legal standards. Principal accountant for Newcastle firm PKF David Henriksen told the Australian Financial Review that this policy-driven shift will provide benefits to everybody.

"For employees, their super contributions are paid in faster, and there are far fewer situations of lost and duplicate accounts," he said.

"There are a lot of small businesses in the country, and for them to not have to add the cost of another service, or software package, to be fully compliant, is a good thing."

3. New law for unfair contract terms

As of November 12, small businesses will be protected from unfair contract terms for the goods and services trade under a new law. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, unfair terms include items that:

  • Limit one party's contractual obligations and/or allows one to vary terms.
  • Enable one party to terminate and/or penalise the other for breaching terms.

Make sure you know what the new terms are before the change date.
Although this change is several months away, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission expects businesses to be reviewing their contracts that will be entered into or renewed on or after the 12th to check whether or not any terms may breach the updated requirements. For more information on this, visit the ASIC website.

Changes to country of origin standards and competition laws are also expected in the near future, so if you're planning on buying or selling a business in the near future, you need to keep your eyes peeled for any relevant legal changes.

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