Employees are increasingly aware of their wage rights and legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman and employees is becoming more common.  It is important for employers to be pro active in staying up to date with changes to minimum wages and awards.

Minimum wages will increase from 1 July 2018 as a result of the Fair Work Commission’s recent decision to award a minimum wage increase of 3.5%.  This means the federal weekly minimum full time adult wage will increase by $24.30 per week to $719.20 ($18.93 per hour) from $694.90 ($18.29 per hour).  Modern award rates of pay will increase by this amount or more.  The Commission took into account the healthy national economy and labour market, low inflation and wages growth and the opportunity to make an improvement to the real wages of minimum wage/award reliant workers.

A summary of the Commission’s decision can be found at FWC Annual Wage Review Statement 2017-2018.  Employers should check the Fair Work Commission website, for pay rate revisions to modern awards and ensure the appropriate increase is passed on from the first pay period after 1 July 2018.  Employers 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.  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.

Please contact us if you would like further information or help.