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What to look out for in an employment contract

Posted on October 6, 2020 by admin

Reading any contract before you sign it is essential, but there are some things you should keep a special eye out for when signing an employment contract. Award Coverage You should always check that the salary you have agreed upon with your employer is on par with the award rates and no less. Double check what rates are associated with your position and clarify any concerns with your employer. Restraint of trade An employer may add a ‘restraint of trade’ clause to your contract. This may impact whether you can work in the same industry later on, so make sure that the employer hasn’t done this without first discussing the details with them first. Changing terms of contract Your employer may have added a clause which gives them the sole right to make any changes to the contract (such as duties, pay, seniority or location of work). Although employers should not be changing any terms and conditions in the contract without first notifying you, having this clause in the contract will make it more difficult for you to argue any changes. Check to make sure the employer doesn’t have sole ability. Carefully read all aspects of the contract to make […]

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What is the criteria for a complying loan agreement?

Posted on July 23, 2020 by admin

Private companies may be incentivised to make loans to a shareholder or their associate during the income year in an effort to save on income tax. In order to remedy any inequities as a result of making shareholder loan agreements, the Government enforces compliance through a set number of rules. Loans which follow such rules under the Income Assessment Act 1936 will also be exempted from being a dividend. Minimum interest rate Loans must have an interest rate greater than or equal to the benchmark interest rate outlined in Division 7A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936, published by the ATO annually. The benchmark interest rate for 2020 is 5.35% (under bank variable housing loans interest rates) and is 4.52% for 2021. This interest rate needs to be applied for each year after the year in which the loan was made. Maximum term The maximum term for a complying loan agreement is seven years. In the case that the loan is secured by a registered mortgage over real property, the maximum term is 25 years. For a maximum term of 25 years, the market value of the property (not including any other liabilities for securing the property prior to […]

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Modified provisions for virtual business meetings you need to be aware of

Posted on June 25, 2020 by admin

Businesses moving towards online operations (temporarily or permanently) need to be aware of the Government’s modified provisions concerning virtual meetings and the electronic signing of company documents. These modified provisions in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) became active on 5 May 2020 and will automatically be repealed on 5 September 2020. Company meetings The new temporary provisions outline how a virtual company meeting should be held and procedures they must follow. Under the Determination, meetings may be held using one or more technologies so that members do not have to be at the same physical location to satisfy business requirements such as a quorum. Additionally, members must be able to speak at the virtual meeting and voting must be done through an online poll rather than a usual show of hands. Proxies may participate in a meeting in the event that businesses are unsure of the necessary virtual procedures. Notice of meetings Notices for meetings, along with any material related to the meeting, must be issued to participating members before a virtual meeting is held. Such notices can be sent digitally through email, or posted on an online location where the notice and other material may be viewed by participating […]

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What to look out for when entering a supply contract

Posted on May 28, 2020 by admin

When entering a supply contract, it is extremely important to work out all the nuisances before signing to prevent complications down the road and make sure conditions are favourable for you. Here are a few key pointers to look out for in your supply contract. Warranties Warranties are promises within contracts to both parties that certain matters are correct and that certain criteria must be met for the supply of goods and services. Warranties can be expressly stated in a contract, whereby the virtues of particular products from a supplier are restated as warranties in a contract, and warranties are ensured by suppliers to be limited to those specifically stated in the contract. Guarantee A guarantee involves a third party, where they must honour the obligations of one of the involved parties in the event that they breach the contract. This offers protection for both contracted parties, almost like insurance in the case that something goes wrong. In some instances, personal guarantees involving personal assets may also be involved. Risk and title “Risk” refers to the responsibility for security and safety of goods that is passed onto the customer on delivery, while “title” refers to the legal ownership of goods […]

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Mandatory code of conduct for commercial tenants and landlords

Posted on April 30, 2020 by admin

The Government has introduced a mandatory code of conduct to help commercial tenants with rent relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the code of conduct for commercial tenancies: Landlords must not terminate leases for non-payment of rent during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery period. Tenants must stay committed to their lease terms. Landlords must offer reductions in rent as waivers and deferrals proportionate to the tenant’s reduction in trade during COVID-19. Waivers must constitute no less than 50% of the total rent reduction during that period. Benefits that owners get for their properties as outgoing reliefs (e.g. deferred loan payments, land tax, reduced charges) should be passed onto the tenant in the appropriate proportion. The code will be implemented nationwide and aims to encourage parties to reach agreeable outcomes on a case by case basis. For commercial tenants, this means negotiating rent reductions corresponding to their annual turnover reductions and being provided extended lease terms for the rent waiver and deferral period. From 3 April 2020, the code will apply to SMEs with an annual turnover of less than $50 million and are participating in the JobKeeper program. Take note of how these measures may affect your business and how […]

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Employer jury duty responsibilities

Posted on February 28, 2020 by admin

When an employee gets summoned for jury duty, it can put added stress on the workplace with other staff having to take on extra work. As an employer, you’ll likely want to avoid the inconvenience of releasing an employee for jury duty, however, this may prove to be difficult. Employers must comply with the legal responsibilities outlined when dealing with an employee who has been summoned for jury duty. Employers who don’t adhere to these responsibilities can face penalties of up to $50,000. Can you refuse to release an employee for jury duty?As an employer, you are required to release any employee for jury duty if they have been summoned. It is an offence to act prejudicial to an employee if they have been summoned for jury duty, including threatening their employment or wages. If your business will face significant hardship with an employee at jury service, then you may be able to request for the employee to be excused. This will require an explanation of the impact jury service will have on your business. A request must be communicated before empanelment (when the jurors have been selected), and making a request does not guarantee that your employee will be […]

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Proposed law to restrict cash payments

Posted on January 29, 2020 by admin

New restrictions on cash transactions may be coming into effect after the government released the draft Currency (Restrictions of the Use of Cash) Bill 2019, which proposed to make it an offence to make or accept cash payments of $10,000 or more. The bill proposes that people using cash above the $10,000 limit could face a two-year jail sentence and fines up to $25,200. There are, however, transactions that are to be exempt from the cash payment limit, including: Payments related to personal or private transactions, excluding real property transactions. Payments that exceed the cash payment limit due to the payment also including an amount in digital currency. Payments that only exceed the cash limit due to the payment being part of a transaction involving cash in transit providers, where the payment results in collecting, holding or delivering cash. Payments, where there are no reasonably available non-cash payment methods and the inability to use a non-cash payment method was not a choice by either party involved in the transaction. The bill was originally set to be enacted on 1 January 2020, however, after a flood of community objections, the Senate Economics Legislation Committee has agreed to hold a public hearing […]

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When is unpaid work legal?

Posted on January 13, 2020 by admin

There are circumstances where unpaid work is okay, however, legal unpaid work situations are limited, and in most circumstances, workers should be paid. Employers who are not meeting the Fair Work Act guidelines can be penalised for breaking the law by paying workers’ compensation and fines up to $63,000 for corporations and $12,600 for individuals. If no employment relationship exists between the worker and employer, then the worker does not legally have to be paid. An employment relationship can involve: Intention to perform work for the employer under the arrangement. Helping with the ordinary operation of the business. Working for a long period of time. An expectation of payment. The employer receiving the main benefit of the arrangement. Unpaid work is legal if the work is to provide someone with experience in that particular job/industry, to provide training and skills as part of formal programs (e.g. university placement), to test someone’s job skills, or if it is volunteer work for a non-for-profit organisation. These include: Vocational placements:A vocational placement is formal work experience that is part of an educational or training course. The aim of vocational placements is to give students important skills to help them transition smoothly into the […]

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Annual leave and pay over the holidays

Posted on November 25, 2019 by admin

As the holiday season approaches, so does the shutdown period for many businesses. This is the time of year when it is easier to take off work due to many businesses slowing down, however, there are questions that surround this period, namely if you will get paid or not. When calculating leave over the Christmas and New Year period, for permanent staff that would typically work on the public holidays, those days must count as a public holiday rather than a day of annual leave. Regular employee rights apply to Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day public holidays. If you work in an industry that may require staff to work these days, normal requirements and relevant penalty rates are in effect. Employees can choose not to work on a public holiday on reasonable grounds such as how much notice the employee received or whether employers expected them to work on a public holiday. Employers do not have an automatic right to terminate an employee if they refuse to work on a public holiday. Employees may be instructed to take their annual leave for the remaining days during the shutdown period. Employers can require this if the relevant award […]

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Being aware of copyright infringement  

Posted on October 23, 2019 by admin

When sourcing content for your business, it can be tricky to determine what materials you can use without putting your business at risk of copyright infringement. With the internet providing a range of easily accessible sources, it can be easy to forget about the legalities of using material you did not produce yourself. In Australia, the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) covers all sorts of sources including text, videos, images, audio, icons, artwork, maps, and computing programs. It protects the rights of an owner to profit from their content, prevents unauthorised use of their material and enables them to recover damages if their material has been used without permission. Copyright protection is automatically applied, in Australia, to written and artistic works from the time it was originally created and generally exists from the publication date until 70 years after the owner’s death. The owner’s permission must be obtained before using, reproducing, or disseminating copyrighted material. Unauthorised use of this material can result in penalties or remedies for the damage caused. This could include: Financial penalties of up to $585 000 for corporations and $117 000 for individuals. Imprisonment of up to 5 years for individuals. Awarding damages for any losses suffered. […]

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