On 19 June 2020, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) announced a 1.75% increase to minimum wages. This will apply to all award wages.

For anyone not covered by an award or an agreement, the new national minimum wage will be $753.80 per week or $19.84 per hour. This applies from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2020.

Acknowledging the calls by employer groups, the commission argued that if it did not increase wages, some families could be forced into “poverty”.

“Some low paid households are plainly experiencing significant disadvantage,” FWC president Iain Ross said.

“An increase in minimum wages would assist these employees to better meet their needs.”

ACTU Secretary Sally McManus said the decision did not go far enough in supporting vulnerable workers, but said a pay rise was better than no increase.

“We would’ve liked to have seen more, of course. But the fact that they’ve rejected the arguments of the employers about wage cuts, so effectively freezing wages, cutting wages, is a positive thing,” Ms McManus said.

The FWC has ordered the increase be delayed in its implementation across different sectors and categories of workers

Who does the increase apply to?

The 1.75% increase applies to the national minimum wage and will apply to minimum rates in awards in 3 stages.

The increase doesn’t affect employees who already get paid more than their new minimum wage.

Interaction with the JobKeeper payment

The new minimum wage also applies to any work an employee performs while they’re in the JobKeeper scheme, if they get their pay rate from an award or the national minimum wage. See JobKeeper and the Annual Wage Review 2020 (https://bit.ly/3djEbVS) on the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme page (https://bit.ly/3epLrRf) for more information.

When will my award increase?

The increase to awards will happen in 3 groups.
Group 1 Awards – from 1 July 2020
Group 2 Awards – from 1 November 2020
Group 3 Awards – from 1 February 2021

Group 2
The new minimum wages will start in the following awards from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 November 2020.

  • Clerks—Private Sector Award
  • Contract Call Centres Award
  • Legal Services Award
  • Real Estate Industry Award
  • Telecommunications Services Award

What happens next?

The Commission will issue draft determinations and orders about how this decision affects awards. It will then update the pay rates in each award – they are working on updates to our pay tools, information and resources with the new rates.

The USU will keep you informed as updates are received from the Commission.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this email, please contact USU Organiser Emily Callachor on ecallachor@usu.org.au