Earlier this month, the Fair Work Commission’s Minimum Wage Panel handed down its annual wage review ruling.

In accordance with the requirements of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), the purpose of the annual wage review is to conduct an evaluation of the minimum entitlements in Modern Awards and the national minimum wage and assess those entitlements against a number of economic and non-economic factors including relative living standards, economic prosperity and national productivity.

Relevant changes resulting from the Commission’s decision, which will come into effect on 1 July 2013 include:

  • ‡‡ An increase to the national weekly minimum wage from $606.40 to $622.20 per week and from $15.80 to $16.37 per hour
  • ‡‡ An increase of 2.6% to all Modern Award minimum wage rates, and
  • ‡‡ An increase to the casual loading for award and agreement free employees to 24 per cent. There will be no change to the casual loadings in the Modern Awards.

In making its decision, the Panel had regard to the expected rise in unemployment, the impact of the carbon tax on inflation and the increases in the superannuation levy (which are also discussed in this edition of Employment Matters).

For those employees who are already earning more than the minimum wage entitlements (as revised by this decision) under the terms of an enterprise agreement or employment contract, these changes to minimum wage rates will have no practical effect.