The Fair Work Commission has just approved lifting the national minimum wage by 2.4 per cent. This translates to an extra $15.80 per week. We look at when the pay bump kicks in, whether it's fair and how many people get it.
The Fair Work Commission will boost the national minimum wage to $672.70 a week or $17.70 an hour, up from $656.90 and $17.29, respectively. Wages will increase from the beginning of financial year 2016-17 (July 1). More than 1.8 million Australians will receive the increase.
This is significantly lower than the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)'s push for $18.07 per hour. Business groups, meanwhile, had been lobbying for an increase of just $7.90 to $10.50 per week.
While the pay bump will surely be welcomed by minimum-wage earners — many of whom live below the poverty line — it's still a modest increase by any definition of the word; especially when you take inflation into account. According to the ACTU, the real wage increase is actually closer to $6 per week, which is barely enough for milk and a loaf of bread.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ wage price index, Australian workers’ wages are growing at the slowest rate on record. Indeed, this year's wage lift is slightly lower than the previous financial year, when the minimum wage increased by 2.5 per cent.
With that said, having enough extra dough for milk and bread each week will make a big difference to some. Tell us what you think in the comments.