On Tuesday the Fair Work Commission increased the national minimum wage and the minimum wage rates contained in modern awards by 2.5%. The increases will have effect from the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2015.
The new national minimum wage will be $656.90 per week, or $17.29 per hour – an increase of $16 per week – and applies to all employees who are not covered by an award or enterprise agreement. There are special national minimum wages for trainees, apprentices, juniors and employees with a disability who are not covered by an award or enterprise agreement.
The Fair Work Commission will be updating each of the modern awards to reflect the increased wage rates. Last year the national minimum wage and the minimum rates contained in modern awards were increased by 3%. The minimum wage panel said the reasons for the moderate increase this year are:
- There has been a reduction in inflation and the aggregate wages growth.
- The unemployment rate has grown steadily from its recent low of 4.9% in March 2011, to 6.1% in April 2015.
- There is no evidence of particular corporate stress as business bankruptcy rates fell significantly in 2013-2014 and business entry rates for all industries for 2013-2014 exceeded business exit rates.
- The relative living standards of national minimum wage and award-reliant workers improved a little over the past year.
- Real unit labour costs remain at historically low levels.
The casual loading for casual employees not covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement remains at 25%. No change has been made to the casual loadings contained in modern awards.
All employers should ensure they are ready to apply the above increases from the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2015.
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