Minimum Wage

Every worker has the right to live a decent life, which is why the minimum wage exists.

Union members fought hard to set this minimum standard and continue to fight for it to keep up with the cost-of-living, so we can all live with dignity.

What is the minimum wage?

The National Minimum Wage is the lowest amount (the base hourly rate) you can be paid for the work you do, regardless of your job or industry.

Anything below the national minimum wage is illegal unless you fall into one or more of the below categories:

  • Young workers under 21 years of age in some industries
  • Workers on the Supported Wage System
  • Apprentices and Trainees

As of the 1 July 2023 the minimum wage is $23.23 per hour. This equates to $882.80 per week (for a standard 38 hours work week) and $45,905.60 per year (52 weeks).

Changes to the minimum wage

Did you know that union members are the biggest reason that the minimum wage goes up?

In Australia, our minimum wage is set by the Fair Work Commission (FWC).

Every year, the FWC reviews the minimum wage and award wages to decide how much they should be increased. This is called the Annual Wage Review, and it takes place from March to June, with the new rates coming into effect from 1 July.

To help make the decision, the Commission asks for submissions from interested parties on what they think should happen. Every year, the union movement submits a claim for a fair increase that reflects the value of work and keeps up with the cost-of-living.

This year, we were calling for a 5% increase and a 9% interim increase for key feminised industries.

On 3 June 2024, the FWC announced that the minimum wage will increase by 3.75% on 1 July 2024. This will bring the minimum wage to $24.10 per hour.

Award and agreement wages

Most workplaces are covered by an award that sets out the minimum wage for a particular industry. This amount is often higher than the minimum wage.

Some workplaces are also covered by an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) which set the rates of pay for one particular workplace or enterprise. Unions are often involved in bargaining for an agreement which is a key reason why these rates are often higher than they would be if that workplace had no EBA (and agreements which are union-backed consistently deliver higher wages than non-union-backed agreements).

Casual wages

Casual employees covered by the minimum wage receive a loading (ie. additional pay) of at least 25% cent of the hourly rate of pay. This is paid in recognition that casuals don’t have access to most paid leave entitlements.

Casual workers employed under certain awards or an agreement may also be entitled to a higher rate (than the minimum wage plus 25%).

Employees might also be covered by a contract of employment which can outline a higher rate of pay.

Commission payments and piece rates

Some jobs pay according to how much work you get done, rather than how many hours you work. Often these jobs are still covered by an award or agreement, but even if they’re not, your employer must still pay you at a rate which is equal to or higher than the minimum wage.

Young workers

Different minimum wages may apply for employees who are younger than 21. Minimum wages for young workers are calculated as a percentage of the National Minimum Wage:

AgePercentageHourly minimum
Under 1636.8%$8.55
1647.3%$10.99
1757.8%$13.43
1868.3%$15.87
1982.5%$19.16
2097.7%$22.70

If you are under 21 and covered by certain awards or EBAs, the percentage you are entitled to may be higher (and may even be 100% of the full minimum wage).

Union members are currently campaigning for all workers over 18 to receive 100% of the National Minimum Wage. Join the campaign here.

The Supported Wage System

The Supported Wage System applies to employees who have a disability that reduces their capacity to work.

 If you are on the Supported Wage System, your minimum wage will be calculated as a percentage of what someone without a disability would earn if they were doing the same job.

It’s up to the Department of Social Services to decide whether you should be paid a Supported Wage System rate – your boss cannot make this decision. It’s also up to the Department of Social Services to assess your capacity and to decide what rate you should be paid.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

Different minimum wages apply to workers who are under a registered training agreement, like an apprenticeship or a traineeship.

These minimum wages depend on what job you are doing and how old you are. Depending on what kind of work you are doing, your minimum wage might also increase the longer you spend there. It might also increase as you get better at doing your job.

The best way to achieve higher wages

Union members negotiate higher pay to ensure that all workers get decent wages. Plus, union members earn, on average, $250 more per week than non-union members.

Earn higher wages as a union member

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