Australia’s a great place to live with a high standard of living, and we want to keep it that way.
A cornerstone of our way of life is a decent wage - not just a minimum wage but a living wage. A decent wage that includes penalty rates, overtime allowances and paid leave. A national minimum wage provides the income floor for all workers in Australia.
Australian Unions fought for the minimum wage when it was established more than a century ago and today 2.3 million workers rely on the annual wage case run by unions.
These days it’s getting harder and harder for people and families to make ends meet. Especially now when there are no guarantees about job security.
Some Australians are working two, even three jobs, just to keep their head above water.
That’s why it’s more important than ever that unions are out there protecting the pay and conditions that make up a decent wage.
This year, unions won an increase to the national minimum wage of $24.32 per week, to $18.93 per hour or $719.20 per week for permanent workers, and it’s $23.66 per hour if you are casual. (Rates applicable to people aged 21 and over). This is equivalent to a 3.5% pay rise.
If you, or someone you know is being paid less than the national minimum wage, get in touch so we can help.
This increase is a step in the right direction, and takes us closer to our goal of the minimum wage being 60% of the median wage.
According to the OECD, pegging the minimum wage at 60% of the median wage is what’s required to ensure that every full-time worker in Australia can survive on their wage.
Australia needs a pay rise and we have to change the rules on the minimum wage.
It is time to live up to the promises of the Harvester judgment and restore a minimum wage that is "fair and reasonable" and sufficient to provide a standard of living that is suitable for a contemporary human being living in a civilized community.
Leon asks: My employer says she doesn’t have to pay me the amount set down in the Award as when I started working for her the Award said I was paid at a lower rate. She said the amount I was employed under is the correct amount and still applies. Is this true? I’ve been here for three years.Read more
The minimum wage is the base rate of pay that must be paid to workers who are permanent employees and aged 21 years or older. The current national minimum wage which takes effect on July 1st 2018 is $18.93 per hour. An employer cannot pay you less than the minimum wage even if you agree to it.
There are special minimum wages for workers who are trainees or apprentices, some workers who are younger than 21 years and some workers who have a disability. Most workers who are casual employees are entitled to a casual loading equivalent to 25 per cent on the minimum wage. The casual loading compensates for other employment entitlements that casual workers don’t get, such as sick leave or annual leave.
There are also special minimum wages for certain industries and occupations. These industry or occupation-specific wage rates are contained in ‘awards’. A full list of awards can be found here.
Federal Minimum Wage
The minimum wage is a ‘base rate of pay’. It does not include any additional amounts that a worker might be entitled to such as bonuses or allowances, or penalty rates for working overtime or working shift work, weekends or public holidays.
The minimum wage rates are reviewed every year by an expert panel of the Fair Work Commission. At the conclusion of this review, a national minimum wage order is made which will apply from the first full pay period on or after 1 July each year.
Note that this information only applies to workers who are cover by Australia’s national workplace relations system. Some workers are covered by state workplace relations system. You can find out more about which system you are covered by here.
To find out the wage rate you should be paid you can call your union or for free advice phone Australian unions on 1300 486 466.