Legislation update

Award rates and allowances and minimum wage to increase by 3% from 1 July 2019

By Andrew Tobin and Alana Paterson / 30 May 2019

Key issues:

  • The Fair Work Commission Expert Panel for annual wage reviews issued a decision increasing the National Minimum Wage by 3 per cent.
  • The increase applies to minimum wages for all employees, including casuals, junior employees, trainees and apprentices, employees with disability, and to piece rates.
  • The changes take effect from the first full pay period to commence on or after 1 July 2019. 

Earlier today (30 May 2019), the Fair Work Commission Expert Panel for annual wage reviews issued a decision increasing the National Minimum Wage by 3 per cent.

The increase applies to minimum wages for all employees, including casuals, junior employees, trainees and apprentices, employees with disability, and to piece rates.

The national minimum wage will be $740.80 per week, or $19.49 per hour, which constitutes an increase of $21.60 per week or 56 cents per hour.

Minimum award wages will also increase by 3 per cent, with weekly wages to be rounded to the nearest 10 cents.

The changes take effect from the first full pay period to commence on or after 1 July 2019. 

In setting and maintaining the National Minimum Wage, the Expert Panel must take into account:

  • promoting social inclusion through increased workforce participation; 
  • relative living standards and the needs of the low paid; 
  • the principle of equal remuneration for work of equal or comparable value; and
  • various economic considerations.

In coming to their decision, the Expert Panel concluded (at paragraph [76] of the decision) that: 

“The prevailing economic circumstances provide an opportunity to improve the relative living standards of the low paid, and to enable them to better meet their needs, by awarding a real increase in the NMW [National Minimum Wage] and modern award minimum wages.”

The Expert Panel rejected the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland’s application that any increase to the minimum wage be deferred for six months in North Queensland as a result of flooding experienced in the Townsville region in late January, early February 2019.

What should employers do?

Employers should take steps to review their employees’ rates of pay, taking into account the National Minimum Wage or applicable award or enterprise agreement classification to ensure they are at least meeting the increased minimum rates of pay with effect from the first full pay period commencing on or after 1 July 2019. 

For more information or discussion, please contact HopgoodGanim Lawyers’ Workplace and Employment team.

Authors
Andrew Tobin
Partner
Andrew is a Partner and the head of HopgoodGanim Lawyers’ Workplace and Employment practice.
Alana Paterson
Special Counsel
Alana is a Special Counsel in our Workplace and Employment practice and is a skilled and experienced practitioner.
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