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Minimum wage increase for lowest-paid workers

All award wages will see their minimum rates increase on July 1 — except for the aviation, tourism and hospitality awards which have been delayed to October. Photo by Julie Mercer

Rural workers engaged on minimum wage rates can look forward to an increase from July 1, after the Fair Work Commission lifted pay minimums.

The national minimum wage will increase by 5.2 per cent to $21.38 per hour.

This translates to an additional $40 per week for a full-time worker on minimum wage.

Adult award wages will increase by $40/week or 4.6 per cent — depending on how low the existing award minimum wage is.

For example, an award rate with a minimum wage of more than $869.60/week will get a 4.6 per cent pay rise, while those earning less than $869.60 will get a $40 increase.

The majority of those hired under the Horticulture, Pastoral and Meat Industry awards will receive the $40 weekly increase, unless they are employed at a higher experience level, which has a minimum over $869.60.

National Farmers’ Federation general manager of workplace relations and legal affairs Ben Rogers said industries must work within the award wages set by the Fair Work Commission.

“Our focus is on the ongoing shortage of workers hampering Australian farmers’ ability to plant and harvest produce,” Mr Rogers said.

“We would hope that the burden of the wage rises is shared by processors and supermarkets via higher farm gate prices.”

Workers, such as first year electrical apprentices, who earn more than $869.60 will receive the 4.6 per cent increase, delivering an extra $20.69 into their bank accounts per week instead of the $40.

The Electrical Trades Union was unhappy about the 4.6 per cent increase.

ETU national secretary Michael Wright said every award wage worker should have received the $40/week increase.

“Thanks to this decision you earn more working two weekend penalty rate shifts on minimum wage than you do for a full week as an apprentice. No wonder our completion rates are a disgrace,” Mr Wright said.

“Australia needs skilled trades to aggressively rewire our homes, industry and grid.”

On July 1 superannuation will also change.

The $450 super guarantee threshold will be removed and the super guarantee rate will increase from 10 per cent to 10.5 per cent.

Visit the Australian Taxation Office website to learn more about super obligations and changes.