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Country Introduction – Australia
Australia is the only country in the world that covers an entire continent. It is one of the largest countries on Earth. Although it is rich in natural resources and has a lot of fertile land, more than one-third of Australia is desert.
Running around the eastern and south-eastern edge of Australia is the Great Dividing Range. This 2,300-mile (3,700-kilometer) stretch of mountain sends water down into Australia’s most important rivers and the Great Artesian Basin, the largest groundwater source in the world.
Name: Commonwealth of Australia
Population: About 25.5 million (2021)
Urban Population: 90%
Capital: Canberra with 462,000 people (2021)
Currency: 1 Australian dollar ($) = 100 cents
Religion: mainly Christians
National Symbols: Golden wattle (flower) and the Commonwealth Star (a seven-pointed star)
National Animals: Kangaroo, emu
National Holiday: 26 January (Australia Day)
National Anthem: Advance Australia Fair
Contract of Employment
Australia’s National Employment Standards provide multiple options for covering local employees under an employment contract. These options include an official contract, agreement, or an award. Awards include the minimum standards of employment and outline the rules and conditions for all employees within a certain industry. These cover the basic rate of pay, type of employment, rates for overtime work, annual salary, allowances, redundancy, and stipulations surrounding leave, resignation, and termination.
Full-time workers are entitled to at least 28 days of annual leave each year.
Australian full-time employees are allowed ten day’s paid personal leave each year. This can be used when an employee is sick or needs to care for a relative. If leave is not taken, it accumulates into the following year. However, unlike annual leave, employees are not paid for unused personal leave when the employment relationship ceases.
In Australia, the National Employment Standards stipulate a 38-hour work week. However, additional hours can be undertaken if necessary.
Maternity Leave and Maternity Protection
In Australia, female employees are entitled to 18 week’s paid maternity leave, which is provided by the federal government as part of Australia’s public health care system. To receive full maternity leave benefits, a woman must be the primary caregiver of a new-born child or a child they have recently adopted. Employees must have also been employed with the same company for at least 10 of the previous 13 months.
National Public Holidays are New Year’s Day, Australia Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. All other public holidays such as Queen’s Birthday and Labour Day are individually declared by the state and territory governments.
For more information read here
Employers are required to provide staff members with notice if they plan to sever the employment relationship. This must include the minimum statutory notice, which depends on the employee’s length of service.
– Not more than 1 year; 1 week
– More than 1 year but not more than 3 years; 2 weeks
– More than 3 years but not more than 5 years; 3 weeks
– More than 5 years; 4 weeks
If the employee is over 45 and has worked for the employer for at least two years, an extra week is added to the notice period. Additionally, employers can opt to pay in-lieu of the notice period.
The amount of severance depends on how long the employee has worked continuously for the employer. Severance pay is not mandatory if:
– The employer has less than 15 employees
– The employee has worked for less than one year continuously
– The employee was an apprentice or casual employee
– The employee is terminated due to serious misconduct
– If the employee is employed for a specified period of time and termination ends at this time
– If the employee works under an enterprise agreement or industry-specific redundancy scheme
In Australia, there is a universal public healthcare system. Permanent residents in Australia have access to Medicare, which is the state health care provider. Additionally, the government recommends that employees who earn over a particular monetary threshold take out private insurance policies on top of their state coverage. This provides residents with increased coverage while also relieving pressure on the public health system.
Income Tax and Superannuation
Employers must contribute an amount equal to 10% of their employee’s gross salary each quarter into a superannuation (retirement) fund for all employees who earn more than AUD $450 per month.
Australia’s at source tax system requires employers to withhold employee taxes and remit them to the government. Payroll taxes may be imposed on wages, superannuation, and other employment benefits. These taxes are levied by individual states and are not considered a federal tax. As such, the tax rate varies by region.
Additionally, employers in Australia who offer fringe benefits must pay a fringe benefit tax on the value of these benefits. Fringe benefits include a company vehicle, parking, free private health insurance, and other benefits. A laptop or cell phone for business use does not incur a fringe benefit tax.
For more information read Australian income tax rates
A simple tax calculator is available to help employers and employees to calculate the tax on taxable income. The Income tax estimator gives employees an estimate of the amount of tax refund or debt.