Minimum wages increased from 1 July 2012 as a result of Fair Work Australia’s recent decision to increase minimum and award wages by 2.9%. This means that the federal weekly minimum full time wage has increased by $17.10 per week to $606.40 ($15.96 per hour) from $589.30 ($15.51 per hour) and modern award rates of pay (including transitional rates) have increased by this amount or more.


Employers should check the Fair Work Australia website ( for pay rate revisions to modern awards and ensure the appropriate increase is passed on from the first pay period after 1 July 2011. For award based employees, the increase can be absorbed by a standard higher pay rate where there is specific contractual agreement between an employer and employee. For non award employees, the obligation is for employers to ensure that an employee is being paid more than the minimum wage rate for all their hours of work.


In addition, from 1 July 2012, the unfair dismissal high income threshold (the annual remuneration level, above which award free employees cannot bring unfair dismissal claims) increased to $123,300 (from $118,100 and excluding superannuation and non guaranteed amounts, eg commission) and the maximum compensation for unfair dismissals increased to $61,650.00.