Australia’s minimum wage has been bumped up to $17.70 an hour

Peter Terlato 1 June 2016

women work low pay

Providing assistance for low-paid households and women in the workplace.

The national minimum wage has been lifted 2.4% to $672.70 per week, or $17.70 per hour.

Australia's Fair Work Commission (FWC) determined it was appropriate to boost the award rate which directly affects more than 1.86 million employees who are reliant upon minimum rates of pay.

The wage rise represents an extra $15.80 per week in the pockets of working Australians, based on a 38 hour full-time week.

In its decision statement the FWC says women continue to be over-represented among the award reliant and low paid, asserting the increase could provide some assistance in addressing the gender pay gap.

In addition to assisting women, the rise in the minimum wage will benefit low-paid award-reliant households.

Despite recent improvements in the relative living standards of minimum wage recipients, the FWC says the position of low-paid workers has deteriorated over the past decade resulting in some household incomes placing families below the poverty line.

All measures of inflation and wages growth are at historically low levels and, according to the FWC, this trend is set to continue in the coming year or so.

However, there's plenty of evidence to support strong labour market conditions in Australia with the unemployment rate falling from 6.1% in April 2015 to 5.7% in April 2016. Under-employment, long-term unemployment and youth unemployment also fell year-on-year.

Historically the minimum wage has risen steadily over the past four years.

In 2013 the FWC increased the minimum wage 2.6% or $15.80 extra per week), by 3.0% in 2014 ($18.70 more per week) and 2.5% last year ($16 extra per week). The hourly rate rise can be seen in the infographic below.

Last year we compiled data on the minimum wage for entry-level workers across dozens of Australian industries after it was revealed some franchisees for convenience store giant 7-Eleven had come up with a novel way to cut their wages bills.

Picture: Shutterstock

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