Paying Wages/Salary In Crypto-Currency

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Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, seem to be all the rage at the moment. Both as an investment option and a potential alternative to traditional fiat currencies.

Whether they are a flash in the pan, or are here for the long haul, really is anybodies guess.

Wider Acceptance

One thing that will hasten their general acceptance is being able to receive part or all of your salary in your favourite ‘coin’, possibly avoiding the exchange fees at the same time.

This is exactly what the 21st Century Media and Education Group of Companies is planning on doing. Combine this with their plan to release Bitcoin ATMs and an Australian Bitcoin Exchange, looks set for you to be seeing ‘Bitcoin Accepted Here’ signs everywhere.

Can It Be Done

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Yes it can be. The better questions is, can it be done legally? To that, the answer is no.

Section 323(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (cwth) says.

323 Method and frequency of payment
(1) An employer must pay an employee amounts payable to the employee in relation to the performance of work:
(a) in full (except as provided by section 324); and
(b) in money by one, or a combination, of the methods referred to in subsection (2); and
(c) at least monthly.

Continuing on the S323(2)

(2) The methods are as follows:
(a) cash;
(b) cheque, money order, postal order or similar order, payable to the employee;
(c) the use of an electronic funds transfer system to credit an account held by the employee;
(d) a method authorised under a modern award or an enterprise agreement.
(3) Despite paragraph (1)(b), if a modern award or an enterprise agreement specifies a particular method by which the money must be paid, then the employer must pay the money by that method.

This means there are only two legal ways for you to pay your staff in Bitcoin. The first would be for the employees to agree to it in an Enterprise Agreement or, if Bitcoin became classified as legal tender in Australia.

As I wouldn’t be holding my breath for either to be happening any time soon, which means the best thing to do for your employees and your business is to pay them as per normal, and let them look after getting Bitcoins.

Failing to do so could result in a claim for non payment of wages in the future.

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