FWC delivers minimum wage increase

The Fair Work Commission delivered a pay rise to 2.2 million Australians on Thursday, as it confirmed it will raise the minimum wage by 3 per cent as of July 1, 2019.

The increased minimum wage will amount to $740.80 a week, or $19.49 an hour. That is $21.60 per week more than the current weekly figure. All modern award minimum wages will also increase by 3 per cent.

The National Retailers Association warned that this increase could create problems for retailers, as they head into a potentially more challenging period ahead.

“The NRA remains concerned that the challenging period experienced by the sector is not over, which is why we advocated for a minimum wage increase of no more than 1.8 per cent,” NRA chief executive Dominique Lamb said.

“Although we remain wary about the impact this rise may have on mum-and-dad small businesses, we most certainly welcome the fact that the FWC strongly rejected the job-destroying increase of 6 per cent proposed by the [Australian Council of Trade Unions].”

FWC president Ian Ross said the current economic conditions justified the wage increase, and that it was not likely to see a measurable negative impact on employment.

Employsure founder and managing director of workplace relations Ed Mallett noted that the decision has a disproportionate effect on small businesses. Customers likely won’t see a 3 per cent rise in prices, meaning businesses will need to make up the difference themselves.

“In just over a month, businesses will need to absorb these changes and will be expected to be compliant,” Mallett said.

“Wages have been a part of the national debate for the past few months and it’s important to strike a balance between employees and employers.

“Wages will always change and that is just the nature of the economy, but that doesn’t mean businesses won’t struggle.”

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