The Fair Work Commission has ruled the Australian national minimum wage will increase by 3.5 per cent.
2.3 million Australians who have their wages set by the national minimum wage or by a modern award are set to benefit from the rise.
The new hourly rate of $18.93 will be effective from 1 July 2018, with the minimum wage coming to a total of $719.20 a week for a full-time employee.
Specific rates for individual awards have not been released yet, but will be confirmed before 1 July 2018.
“We remain of the view that modest and regular minimum wage increases do not result in disemployment effects or inhibit workforce participation,” said Fair Work Commission president Justice Iain Ross.
Justice Ross also commented on the growth of full-time employment and improvement of the labour market.
“The recent data has shown strong growth in full-time employment together with a high participation rate,” he said. “The labour market has improved significantly with strong employment growth of some 355,200 workers over the year to April 2018, of which, 265,000 were full-time.
The R&CA has indicated the rise will deter small business owners from hiring new staff and expanding their businesses.
“The various costs involved in employing staff for a typical café, restaurant or catering business already account for 44 per cent of all business expenditure and is continuing to grow,” says CEO Juliana Payne.
“Service-based small businesses such as cafés, restaurants and caterers simply aren’t in a position to absorb the increased operating costs associated with another minimum wage increase, and this will subsequently force owners to cut back on existing staff hours and hire fewer new employees.
“If minimum wage growth continues to be out of step with the economic conditions that small businesses have to face, the forecasted 84,100 new jobs across the café and restaurant sector over the next five years may fail to materialise.”
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