Recent changes in society, economy, and technology are just some of the reasons that have led to a significant change in expectations of the Mandatory Employee Benefits of 2023 that every employer must offer to attract and retain people with the capabilities that meet organisational need.
There are several mandatory employee benefits and entitlements that employers must provide to attract and retain great employees.
Let’s start at the base level – just the minimum of what an employer needs to provide to meet legal requirements, let alone attracting and retaining talented people. Here are some of the key mandatory base-level employee benefits in Australia in 2023:
- Minimum wage: Employers must pay employees at least the minimum wage as set by the Fair Work Commission. The minimum wage is regularly reviewed and adjusted, with effect around 1 July each year.
- Superannuation: Australian employers are required to contribute a percentage of an employee’s ordinary earnings to a superannuation fund. The current minimum superannuation contribution rate is 11% of ordinary earnings but is increasing each year.
- Annual leave: Employees are entitled to paid annual leave based on their length of service. The standard entitlement is four weeks of paid leave per year, with additional leave for shift workers. In addition, most industrial instruments (Modern Awards and Enterprise Agreements) require the payment of Annual Leave Loading.
- Personal leave: Employees are entitled to paid personal leave, also known as sick leave, to cover periods of personal illness or injury for self and household members. The entitlement is typically ten days per year for full-time employees, pro-rata for part-time employees.
- Parental leave: Employees, including both parents and primary carers, are entitled to unpaid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child. This leave provides job protection and entitlements to return to the same or a comparable position after the leave period. The government also operates a Paid Parental Leave scheme.
- Long service leave: Depending on the state or territory, employees will be entitled to long service leave after a certain period of continuous service with the same employer. The entitlement varies between jurisdictions.
- Public holidays: Part-time and full-time employees are entitled to paid time off on public holidays, which vary by state or territory. Public holiday entitlements include a day off or additional pay if required to work on a public holiday.
- National employment standards: The Fair Work Act sets out the National Employment Standards (NES), which include various entitlements related to maximum weekly hours, flexible working arrangements, request for flexible work, community service leave, and more.
It’s important for employers to stay up-to-date with the Fair Work Commission, relevant legislation, and any changes in employment regulations to ensure compliance with mandatory employee benefits and entitlements in Australia.
In addition to these must-have mandatory benefits, there are also voluntary benefits that employers can and should provide to attract and retain the best employees. These mandatory benefits will differ by organisation, workforce and individuals – and should be personalised for maximum employee engagement and retention benefit. These new additional Mandatory Employee Benefits of 2023 include:
- Positive work environment – creating a culture with highly effectively leaders who engage employees is critical to the attraction of new employees and retention of existing employees.
- Flexible working arrangements – variation in working hours to accommodate personal responsibilities, options to work a condensed or not, a 4-day week.
- Working from home/remotely – either fully or part-time is increasingly the must-have mandatory benefit for many employees.
- Purposeful work – must link with the “why” of the job, as well as providing opportunities to connect and help sustainable, environmental, and community causes.
- Wellness programs – take a holistic approach to supporting the wellbeing of your people including mental health, diversity, and inclusive strategies.
- Professional development opportunities – that support lateral and career progression.
- Sabbaticals – to support personal goals, such as travel and further education.
- Employee assistance programs – to support the psychological safety of employees and leaders.
- Office facilities – help entice people back to the office, so they want to be there – breakfast, snacks and/or lunch provided, office gyms, physical environment (eg bean bags, pool tables), showers and change rooms, day care facilities and school holiday programs for employees’ kids, pets in office and parent rooms.
- Additional superannuation contributions – are attractive to many employees.
- Offering competitive remuneration – bench mark your remuneration packages to ensure they are market competitive and provide more regular remuneration reviews, eg each 6 months.
If you’re looking for support in identifying learning and development needs or implementing effective HR strategies related to mandatory employee benefits for this year you can book a free 15-minute consultation to discuss your specific requirements.
Claire Harrison is the Founder and Managing Director of Harrisons, a flourishing HR consulting business that sprouted in 2009 from Claire’s passionate belief that inspiring leaders and superstar employees are the key success factor to any business. With over 20 years’ experience, Claire has worked as a HR Director of multi-national organisations, as a Non-Executive Board Director, and a small business owner. Claire’s corporate career includes working with companies such as BHP, Westpac, Fonterra and Mayne Nickless.