2018 LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT COULD AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS

The legal environment for businesses is always rapidly changing. If you own or operate a business, it is important to keep to up-to-date with any relevant changes that may affect you, your business, your employees and customers. Although we are only halfway through 2018, there have already been a number of legislative changes introduced which may affect businesses in a wide range of industries across Australia.

SINGLE TOUCH PAYROLL

From 1 July 2018, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will be implementing a ‘single touch payroll’ which is a reporting change for employers. If businesses employ more than 20 employees, they will need to report to the ATO every time the employees are paid. This reporting information needs to include the employees:

  • Salaries or wages;
  • Allowances;
  • Deductions or other payments;
  • Pay as you go (PAYG) withholdings; and
  • Superannuation.

The ATO plans to expand single touch payroll to employers with 19 or less employees from 1 July 2019.

GST FOR LOW VALUE IMPORTED GOODS

As of 1 July 2018, the Australian goods and services tax (GST) will apply to sales of low value goods imported by consumers into Australia. These changes affect businesses that meet the ATO’s $75,000 threshold and sell imported goods for less than $1,000. Businesses affected will need to ensure they are registered for GST and charge GST on sales of low value imported goods (unless they are GST-free) from now on.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN FOOD LABELLING

On 1 July 2018, the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) introduced new country of origin labelling laws which affect all businesses selling food in retail stores in Australia. These reforms have been implemented following a two-year transition period in regulating the representations food businesses make to their customers about:

  • Whether their products are grown, produced, made or packed in Australia or another country;
  • Whether the food is a ‘priority’ or ‘non-priority’ food; and
  • How the food is displayed for sale.

Food bought from restaurants, cafes, take-away shops, schools and caterers does not have to be labelled. Food that was packaged and labelled on or before 30 June 2018 can still be sold without the new labels.

CHANGES TO GIFT CARD EXPIRATION DATES

Commencing on 31 March 2018, the Fair Trading Act 1987 (NSW) amended their gift card terms and conditions to introduce a three-year minimum expiry date on gift cards and gift vouchers sold to consumers in New South Wales. Any gift cards or vouchers issued by businesses prior to this date are exempt from the changes. Queensland is currently considering possible reforms to its legislation governing the expiry dates of gift cards following the release of a Regulatory Impact Statement and has sought submissions from the public and stakeholders alike.

SKILLED MIGRATION VISAS

In March 2018, the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) was abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. The new visa allows employers to address temporary labour shortages by bringing in genuinely skilled workers where they cannot source an appropriately skilled Australian. The TSS visa has stricter eligibility requirements than the previous visa including mandatory labour market testing and a non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers.

UPDATES TO THE NATIONAL PRIVACY ACT - DATA BREACH CHANGES

The Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme under part IIIC of the Privacy Act 1988 establishes procedural requirements and notification obligations for entities to respond within 30 days, where data breach is likely to result in serious harm to any individuals whose personal information is being compromised. This notification must include recommendations about the steps individuals should take in response to the breach and the Australian Information Commissioner must also be notified of eligible data breaches.

From 22 February 2018, compliance with this scheme was extended to businesses with an annual turnover of more than $3 million.

CHANGES TO CASUAL & PART-TIME ENTITLEMENTS

From January 1 2018, the Fair Work Commission implemented changes to several awards affecting the minimum shift entitlements for both casual and part-time employees. This decision was made consistent with the four yearly review of all modern awards pursuant to section 156 of the Fair Work Act 2009. These changes introduced overtime rates for casual employees and how part-time hours could be worked in. As they vary for each respective award, it is recommended that you seek legal advice to find out if your business or employees are affected by these changes.

Please contact us at DSS Law should you require any further advice on any of the above legislative changes and how they may affect your business.

Renee Pappagallo 17/07/2018

Disclaimer

DSS Law insight articles are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as formal legal advice. If you would like specific advice relating to this topic, please contact DSS Law on 1300 DSS LAW or epost@dsslaw.com.au.