More than 1.5 million low paid Australians will benefit from the Fair Work Commission’s decision today to increase minimum wages by a modest 2.6 per cent.
The Commission has announced that the National Minimum Wage will increase by $15.80 to $622.20 per week from 1 July 2013. The hourly rate will increase by 41 cents, from $15.96 to $16.37 per hour.
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten welcomed the modest increase by the Commission’s Minimum Wage Panel for Australia’s lowest paid.
In its submission to the independent umpire, the Gillard Government asked the Fair Work Commission to deliver an appropriate increase in minimum wages, reflecting increases in living costs. The Government also requested the Commission have regard for the increase to the Superannuation Guarantee in its deliberations.
"The Gillard Government believes Australian workers at all levels deserve a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” Mr Swan said.
"Today’s decision is well balanced and moderate, and highlights the underlying resilience of the Australian economy.”
Minister Shorten said the increase will help low income working households manage cost of living pressures and reflects the increase in the Superannuation Guarantee. The treatment of the Superannuation Guarantee is in line with how previous increases to superannuation have been treated in minimum wage considerations.
"The Government’s Fair Work system has delivered a modest increase to the National Minimum Wage which will help our lowest paid make ends meet,” Mr Shorten said.
"It is pleasing that the Commission has taken into account the Government’s increase to the Super Guarantee in its determination.”
The modest increase in the National Minimum Wage broadly keeps pace with inflation which is currently projected to remain at the lower end of the RBA target range.
The Gillard Government has also worked to lift the living standards of Australia’s lowest paid workers by tripling the tax-free threshold from $6000 to $18,200.
The Gillard Government has also abolished the 15 per cent tax on superannuation contributions for low paid Australians, earning $37,000 or less, which delivers up to $500 more to their retirement savings each year.
The new pay rates for each modern award and further information and assistance is available at the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website www.fairwork.gov.au or by calling 13 13 94.