Jobless could reach 1.4 million by Christmas

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 24-Jul-20

The federal government’s economic update shows that the official unemployment rate is forecast to fall to around 8.75 per cent by June 2021. However, the Treasury notes that the measured unemployment rate could be up to 10.75 per cent by December if employers choose to give existing staff extra hours of work rather than hiring additional staff. This would lift the number of people who are unemployed to about 1.4 million. Meanwhile, wages are now expected to grow by just 1.75 per cent in 2019-20 and 1.25 per cent in 2020-21, compared with a forecast of 2.5 per cent growth in the mid-year update in December.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Fair Work flags reprieve on underpayment

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 13-Jul-20

Restaurants, cafes and horticulture are among the sectors that the Fair Work Ombudsman tends to focus upon regarding wage underpayments. However, the FWO notes that businesses in these sectors are likely to be under severe financial stress because of COVID-19. As a result, it is prepared to take no legal action against businesses in these circumstances as well as considering the reduction of ‘contrition payments’, provided that their non-compliance was not "egregious or deliberate". The FWO will make large companies its 2020-21 focus so far as underpayments are concerned.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

Wage growth tipped to crash as job market struggles

Original article by Shane Wright
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 24-Jun-20

ANZ Bank economists Catherine Birch and Bansi Madhavani forecast that Australia’s nominal wage growth will slow to a record low of just 0.7 per cent in the first half of 2021. They warn that wages growth could fall to around zero during some quarters, and note that Australia had lower growth in wages than the US and New Zealand prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Birch and Madhavani add that the unemployment rate is artificially low due to the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Wage-theft laws may be gazumped

Original article by Ewin Hannan, Rachel Baxendale
The Australian – Page: 4 : 18-Jun-20

The Victorian government’s Wage Theft Bill will take effect in mid-2021 after being passed by the state’s upper house. Premier Daniel Andrews has defended the 12-month delay, arguing that a transition period is needed. The federal government’s draft bill to criminalise wage theft could be enacted before the state legislation, whose penalties include jail terms of up to 10 years for employers who deliberately underpay their staff.

CORPORATES
VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET

COVID-19 restrictions spark a record fall in workers’ pay

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 4 : 12-Jun-20

Wages growth fell by 0.7 per cent in the year to June, according to the Melbourne Institute’s latest monthly survey of workers. It is the first time there has been negative growth in pay since the early 2000s. Sam Tsiaplias of the Melbourne Institute notes that wages growth has been subdued for some years, and the economic impact of the pandemic is likely to put more downward pressure on wages. The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which predates the coronavirus lockdown, shows that its wage price index rose by 2.1 per cent in the year to March.

CORPORATES
UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE. INSTITUTE OF APPLIED ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH, AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS

Aussie workers among highest taxed in OECD

Original article by Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 1-May-20

New figures show that workers in OECD member nations had an average income tax rate of 15.8 per cent in 2019. However, Australian workers on the average wage paid an income tax rate of 23.6 per cent. Denmark, Iceland and Belgium were the only OECD nations that had a higher average income tax rate. Grant Wardell-Johnson of KPMG notes that personal income tax accounts for nearly half of Australia’s tax base.

CORPORATES
ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT, KPMG AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

PM roasts banks over Covid fail

Original article by Simon Benson, Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 24-Apr-20

Australia’s four major banks will fast-track applications for bridging finance by companies that are struggling to pay their wages bills after Prime Minister Scott Morrison intervened. He has criticised the banks for taking too long to process such applications, with employers’ groups warning that some businesses have been forced to lay off employees while they wait to receive JobKeeper payments. tax commissioner Chris Jordan raised the issue with bank executives following a telephone conference with Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, AUSTRALIAN RETAILERS ASSOCIATION, COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, RESTAURANT AND CATERING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, COMMONWEALTH AGRICULTURAL BUREAU INTERNATIONAL, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

Guardian journalist unpaid for five weeks

Original article by David Ross
The Australian – Page: 3 : 12-Mar-20

The Australian arm of news publisher The Guardian has provided extensive coverage of the wage underpayments scandal in recent months. However, freelance journalist Russell Jackson has claimed that The Guardian itself has not paid him for five articles that he wrote in January. The Guardian’s Australian editor, Lenore Taylor, has described this as "unacceptable" and said she will ensure that the matter is resolved. Jackson has previously been the news publisher’s deputy sports editor.

CORPORATES
THE GUARDIAN AUSTRALIA

Unions urge paid leave for quarantined staff

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 9 : 5-Mar-20

The federal government has advised workers who have recently been overseas to undertake self-quarantine for 14 days. Victorian Trades Hall secretary Luke Hilakari contends that workers should not be penalised if they are ordered to stay at home and do not have the option of telecommuting. He says they should receive full pay and not be required to use their annual or personal leave. ACTU secretary Sally McManus has urged the federal government to provide financial support to casual workers and contractors who are not entitled to paid leave.

CORPORATES
VICTORIAN TRADES HALL COUNCIL, ACTU

News Corp underpaid super

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 19 : 25-Feb-20

News Corp Australia says that about 2,500 current and former employees have not received their correct superannuation entitlements due to payroll system errors. A spokesman says that most of the affected employees were underpaid by less than $250, and they are collectively owed around $1.5m. The underpayments were discovered during a review of News Corp’s super contributions, which also revealed some instances of wages being overpaid.

CORPORATES
NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS