The Fair Work Commission (“FWC”) has delivered its decision on the Federal Minimum Wage. The FWC has increased the minimum wage by $15.80 per week for adults, a 2.6 % increase. The decision has increased the adult weekly wage to $622.20 (based on a 38 hour week), equating to $16.37 per hour. The panel members took into account factors such as the 0.25% increase in the superannuation guarantee levy payable from 1 July 2013 and the effect of the carbon tax on inflation, and as such this years’ increase was slightly less than the decision last July of a 2.9% increase.
The new minimum rates of pay must be paid from the first pay period on or after 1 July 2013 and these rates will remain the minimum for the period 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2013.
Although some industry associations and unions campaigned for a modified increase tailored to their industry, the FWC was not compelled to take an award by award approach to the Federal Minimum Wage decision, stating that:
“The diversity of experience within these sectors tells strongly against the grant of a general exemption. Further, given the scheme of the Act, the nature of the material before the Panel does not support a conclusion that these industries are suffering economic or other circumstances which would warrant an exemption or differential treatment from the wage increases arising from our decision”.
Employers should take the Federal Minimum Wage increase into account with respect to reviewing the rates payable under their workplace agreements and rates paid to Award covered employees.