Australia’s minimum wage raised to $20.33/hour, but is it enough?

The increase applies to anyone who is paid minimum award wages or the national minimum wage.

The Fair Work Commission has announced a 2.5 per cent increase in the minimum wage and related award minimum wages.

“The increase applies to anyone who is paid minimum award wages or the national minimum wage.”

This will take the minimum wage for Australian workers to $20.33 an hour.

For full-time workers this increase means earning $772.60 per week.

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Image source: Fair Work Commission president Justice Iain Ross – Fair Work Commission.

Fair Work Commission President Justice Iain Ross said explaining the decision:

“There was a broad consensus in the submissions before us that the current performance of the economy has exceeded expectations and that the economic recovery is well underway.”

The Australian Council for Trade Unions (ACTU) had been pushing for a 3.5 per cent minimum wage rise, while the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) had been arguing for a 1.1 per cent pay increase.

Image source: ACTU secretary Sally McManus – ACTU.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus said:

“For workers on the minimum wage it’s not going to be enough to keep up with the cost of living…Especially those who have worked throughout the pandemic and whose employers have posted record profits.”

Image source: ACCI’s acting CEO, Jenny Lambert – Screenshot.

ACCI’s acting CEO, Jenny Lambert told the ABC that the wage increase was “premature and irresponsible”:

“Australians who have managed to battle on through, keep their business afloat and keep people in work now face a highly risky hike in wages — always their biggest cost.”

Image source: Labor MP Tony Burke – Facebook

In a Facebook post, Labor MP Tony Burke said:

“The Fair Work Commission has announced the minimum wage will go up by 2.5 per cent, taking the hourly rate to $20.33.Labor welcomes the increase, which the union movement has fought hard for. But the increase may well have been higher if the Government had lifted a finger to advocate for a rise. It refused to do so.This is a Government that has given Australian workers eight long years of stagnant wages – and is still doing absolutely everything it can to keep them down.”

The FWC will now issue draft determinations and orders about how this decision affects awards before updating the pay rates in each award. 

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According to the FWC, the increase doesn’t affect employees who already get paid more than their new minimum wage.

The new national minimum wage will apply from 1 July 2021.However,  the boost for some industries – aviation, fitness, tourism and certain retail sector – will be impacted and delayed by COVID19 related restrictions.