FWC minimum wage review
The Fair Work Commission decided on Friday to lift the minimum wage by 1.75%, as part of the annual minimum wage review.
This increase takes the minimum wage to $753.80 per week, or a $19.84 hourly rate.
This is an increase of $13 a week, and will benefit more than 2.2 million Australian workers employed on minimum wage. This increase is significantly less than the 4% increase being sought by the union movement. While disappointing, this outcome is still significantly better than what was being advocated by employer groups, who had been vocally calling for a wage freeze.
Acknowledging the calls by employer groups, the commission argued that if it did not increase wages, some families could be forced into “poverty”.
“Some low paid households are plainly experiencing significant disadvantage,” FWX president Iain Ross said.
“An increase in minimum wages would assist these employees to better meet their needs.”
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus said the decision did not go far enough in supporting vulnerable workers, but said a pay rise was better than no increase.
“We would’ve liked to have seen more, of course. But the fact that they’ve rejected the arguments of the employers about wage cuts, so effectively freezing wages, cutting wages, is a positive thing,” Ms McManus said.
The FWC has ordered the increase be delayed in its implementation across different sectors and categories of workers, but workers in healthcare, education, childcare and “other essential services” (and not covered by Enterprise Agreements) will see the increases come into effect on July 1.
IEU members who take maternity leave after this month should see a modest increase to the government’s parental leave scheme: $753.80 x 18 weeks = $13,658.40 (previously $13,334.04).