On 6 June 2017, the Fair Work Commission (‘the Commission’) handed down its decision in relation to the annual wage review., As a result, from 1 July 2017, the minimum annual wage in Australia has risen from $672.70 p/w ($17.70 p/h) to $694.90 p/w ($18.29 p/h).  Modern award minimum rates of pay will also increase with the change and accordingly, it is important that all employers are aware of their obligations to employees to ensure that they are not in breach of the relevant award or a staff member’s contract of employment.  It is also important that staff are aware of the change to ensure they are receiving the correct rate of pay.

We strongly recommend that if you are an employer, it is timely that you:

  • Review all staff contracts of employment and update/amend as necessary;
  • Undertake a full analysis of each employee’s current wages and average wage for each pay cycle, and undertake a comparison between the current amount and the amount that they would be entitled to receive under the applicable modern award;
  • Consider increasing the rate of pay for any staff members who are falling short of the minimum wage/award rates.

It is also important that employers take into account the changes to Sunday penalty rates for those operating in the retail, fast food, pharmacy and hospitality industries, and the sliding scales which have been implemented to phases these changes in over the coming years.  In relation to the slashing of Sunday penalty rates, it would be prudent to note that the Employee Union ‘United Voice’ are planning to appeal the decision made by the Commission, and this could affect the changes made to the applicable penalty rates.

If you are an employee, now would be a good time to peruse your payslips and make sure that you are being paid what you are entitled to in accordance with your relevant award or employment agreement.

Our employment law team at Affinity Lawyers are experienced in this area of law and are available to discuss any employment related matters that you may need assistance with.  Please feel free to telephone our Gold Coast office today on 07 5563 8970 to schedule an appointment with one of our professional and friendly employment law team members.