The Budget proposed some key changes for employers to note.
- Superannuation: superannuation guarantee contributions will no longer increase from 9.25% to 12% over the next five years as planned. Instead, the superannuation contribution rate will increase to 9.5% from 1 July 2014 (as previously planned) and will then remain fixed for three years, rising to 10% from 1 July 2018 and then increasing by 0.5% each year until it reaches 12%;
- Restart Programme: The Government will provide a wage subsidy for employers who hire mature age job seekers. From 1 July 2014, a payment of up to $10,000 will be available to employers who hire a mature age job seeker (including those on the Disability Support Pension) aged 50 years or over. Payments will commence after the worker has been employed for at least six months and will be paid in instalments;
- Personal income tax — Temporary Budget Repair Levy: A three year temporary levy will apply to high income individuals from 1 July 2014 until 30 June 2017 at a rate of 2% on income in excess of $180,000 per annum; and
- Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme: This Government funded scheme allows employees to claim certain unpaid employee entitlements when their employer becomes insolvent or bankrupt. From 1 January 2015, redundancy pay under the scheme will be aligned to the National Employment Standards such that the maximum amount recoverable will be 16 weeks in line with the NES.
It is not yet known whether the above proposals will pass through the Senate.