Now is a good time to make sure you are meeting (or being paid!) your minimum pay obligations.
Minimum wages increased from 1 July 2019 as a result of the Fair Work Commission’s recent decision to award a minimum wage increase of 3.0%. This means that the federal weekly minimum full time wage will increase by $21.60 per week to $740.80 ($19.49 per hour) from $719.20 ($18.93 per hour) and modern award rates of pay will increase by this amount or more. The Commission took into account several factors including that:
• the economy had performed moderately well and data indicated a strong labour market;
• prevailing economic circumstances provided an opportunity to improve the relative living standards of the low paid; and
• the need to monitor the compounding effects of increases over time.
A summary of the Commission’s decision can be found at FWC Annual Wage Review Statement. Employers should check the Fair Work Commission website (www.fwc.gov.au) for pay rate revisions to modern awards and ensure the appropriate increase is passed on from the first pay period after 1 July 2017. You can also subscribe to electronic award updates from the Commission. The Fair Work Ombudsman also has online pay checking resources (www.fairwork.gov.au/pay).
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. Any specific award annualisation clause should also be covered by written agreement. 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. It is only trainees, apprentices and junior employees, employees to whom training arrangements apply and employees with a disability who may be paid less than these minimum rates and then only if specified in an applicable award or enterprise agreement.
Also, from 1 July 2019, the unfair dismissal high income threshold (the annual remuneration level, above which award free employees cannot bring unfair dismissal claims) will increase to $148,700 (from $145,400 and excluding superannuation and non guaranteed amounts, eg commission) and the maximum compensation for unfair dismissals will increase to $74,350.00.
Please contact us if you would like any further information or help.