Minimum wage hike announced

The minimum wage will increase by 3.3 percent from 1 July 2017.

In its second major decision in as many days the Fair Work Commission has raised the national minimum wage to $694.90 per week, or $18.29 per hour from 1 July 2017. This is an increase of $22 per week and an increase of 59 cents per hour.

The decision comes hard on the heels of Monday’s unveiling of the reduced penalty rates transition timescale.

In a summary of the minimum wage decision, the FWC wrote:

The level of increase we have decided upon will not lead to inflationary pressure and is highly unlikely to have any measurable negative impact on employment. It will, however, mean an improvement in the real wages for those employees who are reliant on the NMW and modern award minimum wages and an improvement in their relative living standards.

However, Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman believes the decision will stifle jobs.

“Today’s Minimum Wage increase of 3.3 percent will supress the benefits achieved by the penalty rates reduction, negatively affecting increased trading hours for retailers and further delaying employment growth across the sector,” Zimmerman said.

“With the inherent weakness in today’s economic climate, along with tax increases about to hit consumers, this upsetting increase will strongly impede on employment growth within the industry.”

Heading up the National Retail Association, Dominique Lamb agreed that small businesses would bear the brunt of the wage increase, but said the association nonetheless accepted the decision.