Fair Work Commission points to ‘healthy national economy and labour market’ in making decision to raise minimum wage to A$719.20 a week
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The stronger economic forecast has allowed an increase of the national minimum wage by 3.5 per cent, taking it to A$18.93 per hour.
But the increase decided upon by the Fair Work Commission on Friday is well below the 7.2 per cent growth called for by unions.
The FWC made its decision on the national minimum wage in Melbourne early morning. It set the new minimum wage at A$719.20 per week, or A$18.93 per hour.
That will see about 2m workers with a A$24.30-a-week pay rise.
The commission pointed to stronger economic indicators and forecasts from the federal government, the international monetary fund, and the reserve bank.
“The prevailing economic circumstances provide an opportunity to improve the relative living standards of the low paid and to enable them to better meet their needs,” it said in its ruling. “The economic indicators now point more unequivocally to a healthy national economy and labour market.”
“The circumstances are such that it is appropriate to provide a real wage increase to those employees who have their wages set by the national minimum wage or by a national minimum ward.”
The Australian Council of Trade Unions made an ambitious claim to more than double last year’s A$22 (Dh80)-a-week increase, calling for a rise of 7.2 per cent.
The commission said an increase of that magnitude risked reducing employment prospects for low-skilled workers.
“Such adverse effects will impact on those groups who are already marginalised labour market and on households vulnerable to poverty due to loss of employment or hours.”
The Australian Industry Group had previously called for a modest increase of 1.8 per cent, or A$12.50, a week for those on the minimum wage and A$14.60 for the lowest award rates.