JAYSON Westbury, chief executive AFTA
Challenges surrounding the employment of staff exist in any industry and travel is no exception. AFTA has always taken a balanced approach to how we address many of the employment policy challenges faced by travel agency owners and employed consultants. It is only when there is a symbiotic balance between employer and employee that the business will thrive.
In the travel industry, AFTA is often asked to assist with employment issues. These can range from information about the appropriate rates of pay, which award applies in certain circumstances, terminations, bonus and incentives just to name a few. In fact, the issue that gets raised more than ever with AFTA is confidentiality and client details.
Anyone that works for a company in the travel game will gain access to detailed information about the business, how it is run and the types of clients that the business has.
Often what we find at AFTA is that there is a blurred line when it comes to what an employee can tell someone once they leave and what they can’t. And whether they can approach clients.
These can be difficult issues to address and there is nothing worse than a misunderstanding once someone has left the business.
That is why it is very important to ensure that appropriate employment agreements are in place and that they include clear causes on confidentiality and access to client information should the employment be terminated for whatever reason.
There are a great many number of resources available at the FairWork Australia website and while AFTA does have some assistance in place for members, the website can be helpful to all parties.
Something new for businesses is the announcement of Single Touch Payroll (STP) from the ATO, designed to make it easier for small businesses to report on payments of wages, pay as you go withholding tax and superannuation payments.
This new service will start from 1 July for businesses with 19 or less employees and there is a window until 30 September to comply, so this is really something that you need to take a look at if you are running a small agency or travel business.
My reading of this is that the way a business pays the employee will not change, however the way information will be required to be sent to the ATO will. The roll out of this will no doubt interface with most payroll programs and it best to seek out if yours offers the STP report, or if the ATO has a portal, or talk to your accountant.
AFTA remains true to the employer federation that it was designed to be when it was established over 60 years ago and while new things are always a pest, in the end reporting to the government is something that every business has to do. Best of luck as you dig into the detail.