​Minimum Wage Increase FAQ’s

From 1 July, Australians will begin to experience an increase in the minimum wage. This increase will commence in a staggered approach, with essential services being the first group to benefit. It is estimated that one-quarter of the Australian workforce will benefit from this increase.

We know that it can be hard to stay up to date with adjustments to the Fair Work Act. Like with any new changes to employment law, you most likely have unanswered questions. To help you on your way, we’ve put together a list of common questions and answers surrounding the increases to the minimum wage. Read on to find out if your business is affected and if you are, how to prepare yourself come 1 July.

Achieve Business Solutions are the accountants Frankston business owners trust. For specific advice about how your business could be affected, please get in touch with us.

What is the current minimum wage?

As of 22 June 2020, the minimum wage is $740.80 per week. This equates to a minimum hourly rate of $19.49 before tax.

What will the minimum wage increase to?

The Fair Work Commission has announced an increase of 1.75% to the minimum wage. This will mean that workers receiving the minimum wage will now earn $753.80 a week, or $19.84 per hour. This is an increase of $13.00 a week or 0.35c per hour. This is a compromise for both the federal government (who opposed any increase) and the union movement (who called for a 4% increase).

In regards to the Australian Council of Trade Unions' (ACTU) suggested increase, Fair Work Commission President Iain Ross stated, “In the present economic circumstances, awarding an increase of the size proposed by the ACTU would pose a real risk of disemployment, and of adversely affecting the employment opportunities of the low-skilled and young workers.”

Unlike previous changes to the minimum wage, this change won’t apply to all businesses from 1 July. It will apply to different industries in a three-stage approach over a period of eight months.

When will the minimum wage increase commence?

The commencement of increases to the minimum wage will begin on 1 July 2020.

The new minimum wage will be introduced using phases to allow industries heavily affected by COVID-19, such as tourism and entertainment, to recover first.

From 1 July 2020, those in the essential services and healthcare industries are entitled to the new minimum wage rate. The second phase will cover works in industries including manufacturing and construction from 1 November 2020, with the final phase wage coming into effect in February 2021.

What industries will receive an increase in the minimum wage?

From July 1 2020, frontline workers will receive an increase in their wages. This includes:

  • Frontline health care and social assistance workers
  • Teaching and childcare
  • Other essential services

Stage One - Front Line Workers' Minimum Wage Increase

From November 1 2020, most industries will receive the increase. This includes sectors from:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Most other industries

Stage Two - Minimum Wage Increase 2020

From February 1, 2021, the hardest-hit industries from COVID-19 will receive a 1.75% increase. These industries include:

  • Accommodation
  • Arts and recreation
  • Aviation
  • Retail
  • Tourism
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award

Stage Three - Minimum Wage Increase 2021

For a full list of the industries and introduction dates, please visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Will the changes to the minimum wage apply to those on junior rates?

Yes, those under the age of 21 will receive a percentage of the increased rate. If you have staff on junior rates, the minimum wage will be determined by the employee's age. If you are unsure of the new minimum wage rates for junior employees, you can use the Fair Work Pay Calculator.

Who will be entitled to the minimum wage?

Employees who work in industries covered by an award or registered agreement are entitled to increased minimum wage rates. This includes penalty rates and allowances in their award or agreement. As per the Fair Work Ombudsman, these pay rates may be higher than the National Minimum Wage.

Does this apply to me?

If you’re covered by a registered agreement, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website to see if the increase affects you and your employees.

If you’re an employer paying above the new minimum wage, the increase will not apply to you and your employees.

The wrap-up

From July 1 2020, the Australian minimum wage will increase by 1.75% or $13 per week for essential services. This increase will continue through to a range of other industries on November 1 2020 and February 1 2021. To find more information about the changes and when the changes come into effect, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

For a full list of which awards fall into which category, click here.

Source: Employment Hero