Each financial year an Expert Panel from the Fair Work Commission (FWC) conducts a review into annual wages across Australia. Following the review, the FWC issue a decision and national minimum wage order for the following financial year; these changes come into effect from 1 July 2014.

The annual wage review affects employers and employees in the national employment system, it covers both employers and employees who are covered by awards and agreements and those who are not.

On 4 June 2014, the Expert Panel announced its annual wage review decision.

The results of this decision are:

  • the national minimum wage will increase to $640.90 per week or $16.97 per hour (this is on the basis that the employee works 38 hours per week);
  • casual employees loading will increase to 25% for award/agreement free employees; and
  • the minimum wage in awards will increase by 3%, rounded to the nearest 10 cents.

Following the decision of the Expert Panel it is vital that employers review what they are paying their employees and whether they need to make any changes to ensure that they are compliant with the decision.

Employers covered by enterprise agreements should review base rates of pay for employees to ensure that those rates are not less than those payable under a relevant award.

It is important that employers take steps to ensure they are meeting minimum wage requirements as failure to do so can result in penalties.