In historic news that’ll change the lives of many everyday Aussies, the minimum wage has been lifted. According to The Guardian, the Fair Work Commission has upped this hourly pay from $20.33 to $21.38. In terms of percentages, the national minimum wage is rising by 5.2%, and award minimums by 4.6%.
The Sydney Morning Herald indicated that this change is rather significant. Individuals being paid the minimum wage could now be getting an additional $40 each week and might start earning $812.60 each week. As Labor’s Ged Kearney explained in a tweet, “This $40 a week increase is the difference between buying fresh veges for the kids, being able to afford train tickets, and paying the bills on time.”
The ABC has reported that the Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross has stood by this decision. During the announcement, Ross said, “Given the current strength of the labour market, the adjustments we propose to make will not have a significant adverse effect on the performance and competitiveness of the national economy.”
So, if you’re currently earning the minimum wage, when will this extra cash come through? Well, this increase will happen on July 1. However, some award wage earners won’t be as lucky. Folks in the Airport Employees Award 2020, the Restaurant Industry Award 2020, and the General Hospitality Industry Award 2020, just to name a few, won’t be getting their 4.6% increase until October.
The evidence at the moment indicates that Labor is pleased with these increases. Treasurer Jim Chalmers tweeted, “I welcome the decision by the Fair Work Commission to lift the minimum wage by 5.2% so that Australia’s low-paid workers don’t go backwards.”
The Australian Council of Trade Unions is also pleased with this increase. Its secretary Sally McManus said in a press event that the ABC attended, “This decision is one that is reasonable and it is fair.” However, she wasn’t impressed that some wages are increasing in October rather than on July 1. She stated, “We know airlines and aviation at the moment are very busy and have recovered, and we believe that is not a reasonable thing to withhold those increases for that period of time.”
It’s worth noting that some individuals and groups were not at all impressed with the Fair Work Commission’s call. Take for instance the leader of The Greens Adam Bandt. On Twitter, he wrote, “An increase in the min wage at the rate of inflation is not a raise… It’s past time for a real raise for those on low wages & sub-poverty line income supports to start reversing the slide into US-style inequality.” Bandt also noted, “Australia can and should establish a new minimum wage at 60% of the median wage.”