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FWC announces minimum wage boost

The Fair Work Commission has decided to increase the national minimum wage by 2.5 per cent to $20.33 per hour, a $0.49 hourly rate rise. In other words, the minimum a full-time employee will receive is $772.60 per week, an increase of $18.80. 

FWC announces minimum wage boost
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The Fair Work Commission has announced the 2.2 million Australians currently receiving the minimum wage are set for a slight wage hike, equivalent to $18.80 per week.

The changes are set for a staggered roll out given the impacts of COVID on certain industries. Namely, while some employees will see a wage bump from 1 July this year, others, such as general retail workers, will have to wait until 1 September, while workers covered by more than 20 awards including tourism, hospitality, restaurants, fitness, hair and beauty as well as aviation, won’t see an increase until 1 November.

The FWC made the decision to lift wages despite a warning from the Morrison government. In a submission to the FWC, the government said, "Higher labour costs during this challenging period could present a major constraint to small business recovery and may dampen employment in the sector."

However, ACTU secretary Sally McManus has applauded the FWC's move. Initially, the AWU asked for a 3.5 per cent pay bump.

“This wage rise goes to one in four working people – and this process is the only avenue those people have to a pay rise each year. This is essential work which unions do on behalf of those workers,” Ms McManus said.

On the other side of the fence are the employers, with Employsure warning the wage hike could hurt small business. 

“If you look at small businesses in states like Victoria, where four separate lockdowns have occurred, the wage rise will undoubtedly result in further closures and job losses, as employers have not had an opportunity to recover," senior employment relations advisor at Employsure, Michael Wilkinson, said.

To offset any potential business losses, Mr Wilkinson asked the government and the community to keep their focus on supporting small business owners in their recovery. 

As such, he urged ministers, employer groups and unions to restart the discussion on Australia’s IR system in the upcoming meeting of the statutory IR consultative committee on 25 June. 

“Small business employers have been forced to make sacrifice after sacrifice over the past year and a half, which has resulted in countless job losses and business closures. This upcoming meeting should reopen the debate for positive change, and work to create meaningful reform that will benefit SMEs for years ahead,” concluded Mr Wilkinson. 

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