It’s certainly been a wild year. From the U.K. vote in favor of leaving the EU to Donald Trump winning the U.S. presidential election, 2016 was full of surprises that most experts did not see as likely occurrences. Such surprises can make even the most seasoned of analysts reticent to provide any sort of future predictions.
The year’s Outlook for International Payroll, however, does not focus on a wide range of likely occurrences as much as it analyzes visibly significant trends in global payroll that were gleaned from interviews with industry experts and identifies key country-specific changes to payroll practices that are set to take place this year. Some of the country-specific items to be on the lookout for in 2017 include Australia implementing an entirely new electronic payroll system and South Africa potentially introducing a nationwide minimum wage.
The Outlook itself and the accompanying "Five Things" video that is included with the Outlook page also discuss payroll issues in the U.K., India and Brazil for 2017.
Australia’s New Payroll System
A new electronic payroll system in Australia, known as Single Touch Payroll (STP), introduces combined real time tax and superannuation reporting and payment requirements through government-approved software.
STP, which will replace manual reporting of Pay As You Go withholding and superannuation contributions with a direct data feed to the Australian Tax Office, was initially expected to be implemented by July 2016. The government decided, however, to alter its initial plans after significant complaints from businesses due to the short implementation time frame and limitations on cash flow that mandatory real time payments would cause.
On July 1, 2017, Australian employers will have the option to use STP. The new system does not become mandatory for anyone, however, until July 1, 2018, when employers with 20 or more employees will be required to enroll in STP. Thus far, employers of 19 employees or less have no date of mandatory adoption of the new payroll system.
South Africa’s National Minimum Wage
Nearly half of South African minimum wage workers could receive a pay increase should the country move for the first time in its history to adopt a national minimum wage in 2017.
South Africa currently has no single national minimum wage but has established minimum wage rates for workers in certain sectors of the economy, including wholesale and retail, agriculture and civil engineering. The rates vary further, not just according to the sector involved but also to the particular job and the region of the country in which the work is performed. Bargaining council agreements, collective agreements and private contracts also often set the minimum wage rates.
The proposed nationwide minimum wage would be higher than the current wages received by more than 47 percent of the workforce.
For payroll professionals, an increase in the minimum wage in South Africa may affect other payroll functions too. For example, remuneration for overtime must be 1.5 times the normal wage rate and double the normal wage rate for employees working Sundays or holidays. An increase in minimum wage would result in significantly different overtime amounts for some workers.
For more details on these changes in addition to other major global payroll trends, read Bloomberg BNA’s 2017 Outlook for International Payroll.
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