It’s that time of the year when unions lodge their annual minimum wage claim and the Expert Panel of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) responsible for making annual wage review decisions, goes on to schedule various hearings in dealing with the matter.
Last year, the Australian Council of Trade Unions sought a wage claim of 7.2% (approximately $50-00 per week to minimum award wages) and the FWC awarded an increase of 3.5% (approximately $24-30 per week to the adult minimum wage).
In the current claim, at a time of heightened political significance with a Federal election looming, the ACTU has raised the issue of a ‘Living Wage’ and sought an increase of 6%, or a $43-00 per week, increase in the minimum wage. Employer parties have called for a modest wage increase of no more than 2%, maintaining that the Union claim is unsustainable in the current economic climate, with many businesses struggling to cope with rising costs. Inflation is currently running at 1.8% per annum.
The FWC is likely to hand down its decision in late May or early June. Any increase in award wage rates will be operative from the first full pay period commencing on or after 1 July 2019. As advised in previous years, employers paying sufficiently above award rates will have the ability to absorb the increase, if they so choose.
The MTA’s WR team will inform you of the decision at the appropriate time and ensure that the relevant Wage Schedules are amended to incorporate the wage increase awarded.
For any assistance in wages, please contact WR by clicking here.