Minimum wage increases to $18.29 an hour, cuts to Sunday penalty rates to still go ahead


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MINIMUM wages are set to rise by $22.20 a week starting next month.

The Fair Work Commission this morning ruled the country’s lowest paid workers should have their wages increased 3.3 per cent to $18.29 an hour.

That is compared to price rises of 2.1 per cent for everyday goods and services for the year ending March, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.

mimimum wages

The new minimum weekly wage is $694.90, the commission said.

In its ruling, the commission said that “modest and regular wage increases” didn’t have a significant impact in slowing growth in jobs.

The minimum wage increased by $15 per week last year, while the Australian Council of Trade Unions had been pushing for a weekly $45 rise this year.

It comes a day after the commission ruled cuts to Sunday penalty rates should be phased in over three to four years.

Sunday pay for retail workers will be lowered from 200 per cent to 195 per cent of their regular pay beginning next month.

That will fall to 150 per cent by July 2020.

Russell Zimmerman

But retailers have already expressed unhappiness at what they say is an “excessive” phase-in time, while unions have vowed a campaign against the Turnbull government.

“Penalty rates will allow retailers to extend staff working hours and increase employment across the board, therefore these sluggish arrangements will unnecessarily delay the creation of new retail jobs,” Australian Retailers Association boss Russell Zimmerman said.

Hospitality workers will have their Sunday penalties cut from 175 per cent to 170 per cent next month, falling to 150 per cent by July 2019.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus said the cuts were “simply cruel”.

Sally McManus

“We need a government that stands up for working people. Instead, we are being told lie after lie about how these pay cuts are going to boost the economy,” she said.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash sought to head off a backlash about the changes, which are expected to affect about four per cent of the workforce.

“It is a direct consequence of the review process put in place by Bill Shorten as workplace relations minister in the previous Labor government in 2013,” Senator Cash said.

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