• Penny Carroll

Client e-brief - Dec 21

Updated: Mar 11

Single Touch Payroll Phase 2

This is the next part of the STP rollout. Where Phase 1 was a way of reporting employees’ tax and superannuation to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), STP Phase 2 expands the program to capture more information such as a further breakdown of gross amounts and income types, required to be reported to the ATO each payday.

This will reduce the compliance burden for employers and individuals and help the administration side of things for social support services such as Services Australia.

When Do Employers Need to be Compliant?

As announced, employers need to start sending additional payroll information through Single Touch Payroll from 1st January 2022 (unless they have a deferral).

Whilst the start date for STP phase 2 remains 1st January 2022, the ATO is committed to supporting employers transition to STP Phase 2 reporting by being flexible and reasonable.

Australian employers will now have two more months to transition to the second phase of Single Touch Payroll as the ATO announces a blanket deferral in light of the current business environment. Source: Accountants Daily – ATO announces STP Phase 2 blanket deferral

Employers whose payroll solution is ready for 1st January 2022 will be considered to be reporting on time provided they start Phase 2 reporting before 1st March 2022. Employers will not need to apply to the ATO for more time.

Are Software Providers Ready?

With STP Phase 2 heavily reliant on software providers to update their payroll solutions, the ATO has also announced that further deferrals will be available to providers that need more time. Customers of these software providers will automatically be covered by that deferral.

See below a breakdown of software information links to discuss:

Respect at Work Legislative Changes

Everyone has the right to a workplace that is safe and free from sexual harassment. Employers have an obligation to manage the health and safety risks of workplace sexual harassment.

On 10th September 2021, the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Act 2021 (Respect at Work amendments) took effect.

The Respect at Work Act has introduced changes to 3 separate pieces of existing legislation and as stated in the Respect at Work Act’s explanatory memorandum, aims to “ensure that more workers, particularly vulnerable workers, are protected and empowered to address unlawful conduct.” In addition, miscarriage leave has been introduced for the first time, through an expansion of the entitlement to compassionate leave.

The changes to the Fair Work Act aim to:

  • Protect and empower workers to address sexual harassment in the workplace.

  • Include miscarriage as a reason to access compassionate leave.

They include:

  • Introducing stop sexual harassment orders.

  • Defining sexual harassment.

  • Clarifying that sexual harassment at work can be a valid reason for dismissal.

  • Providing compassionate leave for miscarriage.

For more information see: FWO – Sexual harassment in the workplace

Advice for Small Business Owners

Advice to small business employers is that they need to have policies in place which allow them to effectively respond to sexual harassment. A workplace policy dealing with sexual harassment is one of the most important policies for an employer to have in place. Primarily it is a useful method to communicate to employees matters such as:

  • The sort of conduct that constitutes sexual harassment.

  • That this conduct will not be tolerated in the workplace.

  • That this conduct is against the law, for which both employee and the employer can be liable.

  • How employees can report any such conduct that occurs.

  • The support that will be offered to victims of sexual harassment.

It is also necessary to have such a policy in place for an employer to seek to avoid liability for any sexual harassment that occurs in its workplace. Employers will be liable for the actions of an employee who engages in sexual harassment, unless they can show that they took all reasonable steps they could to prevent this from occurring.

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