Millions of Australians to get increased pay cheques as Fair Work Commission unveils rise to Australia’s minimum wage

Millions of Australians to get increased pay cheques as Fair Work Commission unveils rise to Australia’s minimum wage
  • PublishedJune 3, 2024

The Fair Work Commission revealed the increase on Monday.

Millions of Australians on award and minimum wages will get a boost to their pay cheques, with the Fair Work Commission announcing a 3.75 per cent increase, effective from July 1.

The national minimum wage will be increased by 89 cents to $24.72 per hour. In a standard 38-hour working week, this amounts to an extra $33.82.

The annual wage decision from the workplace umpire was broadcast on Monday and comes at a time when cost-of-living pressures are lingering and hurting the lowest-paid workers.

Each year, the Fair Work Commission decides whether to increase the minimum wage for employees and by how much, factoring in economic conditions as well as broader goals such as closing the gender pay gap.

A substantial boost was handed out last year — 5.75 per cent for awards and 8.6 per cent for the national minimum — with the commission basing its call on a combination of low unemployment, falling wages and high inflation.

Employers, unions and governments outlined their positions prior to the 2024 decision.

The Albanese government submission said it would prefer the “real wages of Australia’s low-paid workers do not go backwards”.

No number was specified but inflation rose 4.1 per cent annually in the March quarter, well down from its peak but still outside the two to three per cent band preferred by the central bank.

Tax relief due to kick in mid-year should also not be viewed as a replacement for a wage boost, the government said in its submission.

Yet employer groups said tax cuts, energy bill rebates and other cost-of-living relief in state and federal budgets should be factored into the wage decision as extra cushioning for the lowest-paid.

Australian Industry Group has proposed a wage increase of 2.8 per cent, warning the economy was slowing and the labour market weakening, and an excessive pay boost could up the risk of job losses.

The peak union body has been pushing for a more substantial five per cent pay rise as cost-of-living pressures were hitting those on low-incomes hard.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions did not believe such an increase would be inflationary, based on the solid progress logged on consumer price growth following last year’s large increase.

Yet following a stronger-than-expected monthly inflation print for April, economists will be watching the minimum and award decision closely in the context of the next Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate move.

AMP Australia economists Diana Mousina and My Bui said the economy was too weak to justify more hikes, even with the April price surprise.

They expect the next move will be down and the timing was largely dependent on the upcoming minimum and award wages decision and inflation data.


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