Over 2 million Australian workers will soon receive a pay rise, the nation’s Fair Work Commission (FWC) has revealed.
An increase of 3% to the national minimum wage means Australia’s lowest paid workers will, as of July 1, receive an additional $21.60 AUD a week, the FWC’s latest Annual Wage Review has declared. The new hourly rate of $19.49, compared to the current rate of $18.93, cements Australia as the nation with the highest minimum wage in the world.
The latest extension is lower than last year’s increase, which came in at 3.5%.
FWC President Justice Ross said the lower increase was due to recent changes within Australia’s economy, including new tax-transfer schemes that benefit low-income earners, a cut to inflation, and a near decade-low growth rate for Australia’s gross domestic product.
He warned an increase beyond 3% could harm job availability.
"We have decided to award a lower increase this year than that awarded last year due to the changes in the economic environment,” Ross stated in the review. “We are satisfied that the level of increase we have decided upon will not lead to any adverse inflationary outcome, nor will it have any measurable negative impact on employment.”
Today is the day. The Fair Work Commission will hand down their annual minimum wage decision at 11am AEST.— Australian Unions (@unionsaustralia) May 30, 2019
We've called for a $43 per week raise to the minimum wage.
No full-time worker should earn a wage that leaves them in poverty. It's time for a living wage.
The new rate falls well short of the 6% increase — or an additional $43 per week — advocated by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU). The ACTU claim an expansion of this size would lift all single-income families with one or two children above Australia’s relative poverty line at 60% of the national median income.
"We have a long way to go to ensure that the minimum wage is enough for workers to live on and support their families,” ACTU Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien stated. “No one in Australia should be living in poverty while working full time, but we know that thousands of people are facing this reality.”
While real dollar terms place Australia as the nation with the highest minimum wage worldwide, experts claim this isn't a fair representation. The Australian Centre for Future Work (CFW) says the cost of living needs to be taken into account.
An appropriate measure, the CFW claims, is examining the ratio of minimum wages relative to the median wages of full-time workers. When analyzed in this manner, Australia’s minimum wage in 2017 came in at 55% of the median income poverty line. This percentage means Australia instead ranks 11th on the OECD’s minimum wage chart.
In the days following the new minimum wage announcement, Australians took to Twitter to contest the pay rise, with hundreds of low-income earners claiming the increase would in no way be in line with a living wage.
Next month the minimum wage will rise from $719 to $740 per week.— 💧Jim Pembroke (@Jim_Pembroke) May 30, 2019
That's $3 per day.
Average rent in Australia is $427 per week
Rent stress will drop from 59% to 58%
Just to be clear. This is a poverty trap, not a living wage.#ChangetheRules#auspolhttps://t.co/wbKY1N5nC1
How about some context?! Let’s compare minimum wage as a function of average house prices. US average house price is $279,500. $538668 in Australia. Different picture then, wouldn’t you say? #auspol#MinimumWage— Michael Goldschlager (@MGoldschlager) May 30, 2019