National Minimum Wage Rise
The national minimum wage has been reviewed and will modestly increase from 1 July 2015.
The Fair Work Commission published the Annual Wage Review for 2014-15.
The national minimum wage previously stood at $640.90 per week or $16.87 per hour, as a result of the 3% increase awarded by the Commission in the 2013-14 Review, which came into operation on 1 July 2014.
The 2014-15 Review saw a more modest increase to minimum wages of 2.5%. Consequently, as of 1 July 2015 the national minimum wage will be $656.90 per week or $17.29 per hour, constituting an increase of $16 per week or 42 cents per hour.
The commission also considered it appropriate to adjust the modern award minimum wages by 2.5%.
The increase to the national minimum wage was considerably less than that proposed by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), who recommended that the minimum wage increase by $27 per week to $667.90 or $17.58 per hour, constituting a 3.6% increase.
The Ai Group (Australian Industry Group) disagreed with ACTU’s proposal, claiming it was “unrealistic” as well as “unfair to those whose job prospects it would damage”. The Ai Group alternatively proposed a more conservative 1.6% increase for all classifications, resulting in an increase of $10.25 per week.
The Fair Work Commission’s Expert Panel took into consideration a number of factors including the reduction of inflation and aggregate wages growth since the Review in 2013-14 as well as the reduced growth in consumer prices over the past year. The panel also considered the lack of corporate stress, as in 2013-14 business bankruptcy rates fell and business entry rates exceeded business exit rates.
The Panel concluded that the increase determined in the 2014-15 Review “is consistent with the promotion of social inclusion through increased workforce participation and is also compatible with the need to encourage collective bargaining”.