A company has been forced to take a significant pay cut to help cover the fallout from the Government’s decision to impose an IT redundancy tax, the ABC has learnt.
The Government has announced it is imposing a 15 per cent tax on all employees’ wages over $1.9 million, forcing businesses to lay off staff, with the proceeds going to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The IT tax was set to kick in on Monday but has been postponed until Wednesday, with all companies affected being told that they must reduce their payroll by at least $500,000.
In a letter to employees, a spokesperson for the Department of Human Services said the levy was “the right thing to do to support families and communities”.
“It is critical for businesses to ensure that they are prepared for a time when the workforce is reduced and for those that do not have the ability to provide a safe and productive workplace, to consider what measures are appropriate to minimise their impact on the workforce,” the spokesperson said.
“The Government’s policy is designed to help employers make the most of the economic and fiscal resources available to them.”
A significant proportion of the impact of this levy will be in relation to the implementation of the IT redundancy scheme.
In an email to staff, one IT worker said he was “very disappointed” that the Government would impose such a levy on them. “
As part of the Government policy to support business and the economy, businesses are now required to consider the impact the levy will have on their workforce,” they said.
In an email to staff, one IT worker said he was “very disappointed” that the Government would impose such a levy on them.
The IT worker, who did not want to be named, said it was an “unfair” tax that was designed to be “very difficult for small business”.
“If they’re not going to give me a job, I can’t even look for a job,” he said.
“The way I feel about the Government is that I’m not a big business, I’m a worker.”
It’s not fair that I have to pay that tax.
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The Department of Business, Innovation and Employment said it understood the impact on businesses and the Government.
It was working to minimisise the impact and provide a plan to businesses to provide the most suitable workforce, it said.
The department said the IT levy was not designed to affect a company’s ability to attract or retain staff.
Under the scheme, a company can apply for a voluntary redundancy scheme which will cover a small number of employees at the start of a financial year, and a number of them can be reduced.
If a voluntary scheme is not in place by the start or end of a year, a mandatory redundancy scheme will be introduced for a limited number of staff at the end of the financial year.
Employees in the voluntary scheme will then have to comply with the compulsory scheme.
The spokeswoman said: “The Government is committed to supporting small businesses and we recognise that the decision to levy the levy has the potential to have a significant impact on small businesses.”
“The Department is aware that there will be some employees affected and will be assisting them in the best way possible to minimises the impact that this levy may have on them.”
She said the Department was also working with employers on how to minimised the impact for their staff.
A Department of Social Services spokeswoman said the department was aware of the issue and was working closely with the Federal Department of Finance, the Department for Employment and Workplace Relations and other stakeholders to identify best practice solutions to ensure the best possible outcome for all affected employees.
“We will be working closely over the coming weeks with the relevant parties to provide assistance to employees and businesses in this difficult time,” she said.