Australia's minimum wage increased by 8.6%, and workers covered by industry awards received a 5.75% pay increase, according to a decision made by the Fair Work Commission (FWC). The new national minimum wage became $23.23 per hour or $882.80 per week based on a 38-hour workweek.
However, there was an important detail to consider with this wage increase. The FWC believed that the hourly pay raises would only have a small impact on overall wage growth in the 2023-24 period and would not lead to a wage-price spiral.
The FWC acknowledged that this increase did not maintain the real value of minimum wages under modern awards or reverse the decline in their value in recent years. The higher wage rates took effect in the first full pay period after July 1.
A significant change was that the FWC no longer aligned the national minimum wage with the C14 classification wage rate in modern awards. The FWC argued that the C14 rate was too low and did not serve as an adequate minimum wage safety net. Instead, they realigned the national minimum wage with the slightly higher C13 classification wage rate and then raised the C13 rate by 5.75%.
This meant that starting from July 1, the national minimum wage increased by 8.65% compared to the previous year's lower-aligned rate. However, the FWC presented this as a 5.75% increase because it matched the raise given to the C13 classification award rate that the minimum wage was aligned with.
Previously, the minimum wage was $21.38 per hour, but the new minimum wage became $23.23 per hour, resulting in an increase of $1.85 per hour (+8.65%).
The government, led by Albanese, supported raising the minimum wage to keep up with inflation, ensuring that low-paid workers' real wages did not decrease. Headline inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), stood at 7% in the March quarter.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers stated that the 5.75% increase in awards was the largest in history and benefited 2.7 million workers.
This decision reflects a positive step towards ensuring fair compensation for employees in the Australian workplace.
At Whales, we are committed to protecting the rights and well-being of our employees.
We believe that fair wages contribute to a healthy work environment and foster employee satisfaction and productivity. We fully support the FWC's decision to raise the minimum wage, as it aligns with our values and commitment to promoting a fair and equitable workplace for all.
Whales will continue to advocate for the rights of workers and work diligently to ensure that our employees receive the wages they’re entitled to. We believe that by upholding these standards, we create an inclusive and supportive work culture that benefits both our employees and the success of our organization.