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Thursday, October 26, 2006

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Aust Fair Pay Cmn awards minimum wage rise to 1.2m workers

Aust Fair Pay Cmn awards minimum wage rise to 1.2m workers

The Australian Fair Pay Cmn has just minutes ago handed down its first minimum wage decision under Work Choices. There are three elements to what was a unanimous decision, which gives: 

An increase of $27.36 a week to the standard federal minimum wage;

An increase of $27.36 a week to all Aust Pay and Classification Scales up to and including $700 a week (around one million workers); and

An increase of $22.04 a week in all Pay Scales above $700 a week (around 220,000 workers).

The increases will also flow on to junior employees, those under traineeships, those with a disability and basic piece rates of pay.

For those on the standard federal minimum wage of $484.50 a week, the $27.36 rise will increase their hourly rate to $13.47 (from the current $12.75) or $511.86 a week from the current $484.50.

For those on a minimum wage rate of $750 a week, the $22.04 increase will bring their hourly rate of pay to $20.32 and their weekly pay to $772.04.

The pay rises  will kick in on Dec 1, 2006.

Announcing the pay rises this morning, AFPC chair Prof Ian Harper said the larger increase for the lower-paid workers was an acknowledgement that lower paid workers were more reliant on the minimum wage.

Harper said the rises were "balanced and fair and provided a real increase for low-paid workers". The AFPC will hand down its next minimum wage decision in mid-2007.

It has been 16 months since the last minimum wage rise of $17 a week was handed down by the AIRC under the former WR system on June 7, 2005 (WF1542).

The ABS announced yesterday inflation was running at 3.9% (Workforce Daily, Wednesday). Employer group ACCI yesterday said the AFPC should award an increase closer to the underlying rate of inflation of 2.6%.

The ACTU had sought a $30 a week increase, with state wage case decisions having awarded from $17 to $20 earlier this year.

On the AFPC website the main decision (186 pages) and a series of fact sheets. Go to: www.fairpay.gov.au.

Minimum wage rises over the past nine years

Prior to last year's final AIRC minimum wage rise, was a $19 a week rise in 2004; $15 to $17 in 2003; $18 in 2002; $13 in 2001; $15 in 2000; $12 in 1999; $14 in 1998; and $10 in 1997. 

In the previous nine years, the minimum wage has risen by between $10 and $18 a week. The ALP estimates there are nearly two million minimum-wage reliant employees in Aust.

Workforce will release another bulletin later in the day with key players' responses to the news.

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