National minimum wage raised by Fair Work Commission

30 May, 2019 by
Madeline Woolway

The national minimum wage will increase by 3 per cent to $19.49 per hour, amounting to an extra $21.60 per week for full-time workers.

Roughly 2.2. million employees are affected by the Fair Work Commission’s decision, which will see the Australian minimum wage increase from $719.20 a week to $740.80 per week from 1 July 2019.

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“We have decided to award a lower increase this year than that awarded last year having regard to the changes in the economic environment, in particular the recent fall in GDP growth and the drop in inflation,” said Fair Work Commission president Justice Iain Ross. “We are satisfied that the level of increase we have decided upon will not lead to any adverse inflationary outcome and nor will it have any measurable negative impact on employment. However, such an increase will mean an improvement in real wages for those employees who are reliant on the NMW and modern award minimum wages and an improvement in their living standards.”

While the decision falls short of the Australian Council of Trade Union’s call for a 6 per cent ($43 per week) increase to minimum wages, Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien said: “This is a welcome pay rise for millions of low-paid workers, especially in the face of further penalty rate cuts in a few weeks.”

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Business groups including the Australian Industry Group and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry had argued for smaller increases of 2 per cent and 1.8 per cent. In March, under previous CEO Juliana Payne, the Restaurant and Catering Association called for a wage increase freeze. New CEO Wes Lambert echoed Payne’s sentiment, saying the decision would “significantly increase the financial pressures faced by restaurants, cafes and catering businesses”.

He added: “After 3 years of CPI plus increases of 3.3 per cent, 3.5 per cent and 2.4% respectively Restaurant and cafe owners had called for a minimum wage freeze for 2019 as something’s gotta give.”

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Lambert also said he was concerned that the 2019 Annual Wage Review Decision further risked the viability of many cafes and restaurants as it didn’t just encompass the 2 percent of employees who are on the minimum wage but those on award wages in the industry too.