FWC lifts minimum wage by 3.75%

Australia’s Fair Work Commission has lifted the national minimum wage by 3.75% from July 1, raising it to $913.91 a week or $24.10 an hour. 

The increase, about $33 a week on the current rate, will affect about 2.6 million workers or 20.7 per cent of the Australian workforce and also applies to award wages.

In its annual wage review decision, the FWC said cost of living remained a primary consideration, though it was not appropriate to increase award wages significantly above the inflation rate. It also took into account the impact of stage 3 tax cuts and Budget cost-of-living measures for workers.

“The increase of 3.75 per cent which we have determined is broadly in line with forecast wages growth across the economy in 2024 and will make only a modest contribution to the total amount of wages growth in 2024,” the FWC decision said. 

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the decision “tests the acceptable limits for businesses”. 

“The outcome is slightly above current inflation and well over the Reserve Bank’s target range for inflation,” ACCI CEO Andrew McKellar said. 

“This decision is not in line with the trajectory needed to shore up the Australian economy, but it does not pose a significant inflation threat so long as productivity is addressed. 

“Over the past year, productivity has been flat at best. For the outcome of 3.75 per cent to be justified, it is essential that there is renewed growth in productivity as an urgent priority. This must be central to bargaining at an enterprise level.” 

Wage increase ‘adds to pressure’ 

As well as ACCI the FWC received submissions from stakeholders including the Australian Council of Trade Unions, which pushed for a 5% rise, the Australian Industry Group, the Council of Small Business Organisations, Australia, and the Federal and State governments. 

CCIWA CEO Chris Rodwell said: “While this decision delivers a smaller increase than unions had been pushing for, it will still add to the pressures faced by small and family businesses in WA.”  

“We know that some WA businesses are paying above award rates just to attract and retain staff in a tight labour market,” he said. 

“Along with payroll tax and increasing red-tape, labour costs are continuing to squeeze small businesses in WA.”

Gender undervaluation review

The FWC said it would establish a program to examine “gender undervaluation issues arising in respect of certain modern awards”.

Following a gender equity research project it had identified the priority areas of: modern awards and classifications applicable to early childhood education and care workers, disability home care workers and other social and community services workers, dental assistants, medical technicians, psychologists, other health professionals and pharmacists. These will now be the subject of Commission-initiated proceedings completed by the time of next year’s review.

For more information on minimum and award rates, contact CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 or [email protected]. 

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