On 2 June 2023, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) released its decision on the Annual Wage Review for 2022-23. The outcome of the review includes a 5.75% increase in the national minimum wage (NMW) and modern award minimum wages. Notably, the FWC also made changes to the alignment between the NMW and modern award classification rates, resulting in a higher increase for those paid at the NMW.
Here are the key outcomes of the 2023 Annual Wage Review
National Minimum Wage (NMW):
- The NMW rate is now aligned with the higher C13 modern award classification.
- A 5.75% increase applies to the NMW rates.
- The weekly minimum wage will rise from $812.60 to $882.80, an increase of $70.20.
- The hourly minimum wage will increase from $21.38 to $23.23, a rise of $1.85.
Modern Award Minimum Wages:
- A 5.75% increase will be applied uniformly to modern award minimum wages.
- The current casual loading figure for award or agreement-free employees remains at 25%.
In terms of macro-economic effects, it was noted that only a small percentage (0.7%) of workers nationwide are paid the NMW, thereby limiting the overall macro-economic impact of the decision. The FWC also recognised the importance of restraining inflationary pressures and took into account forecasts indicating a potential economic slowdown and its potential impact on specific sectors and casual employees.
Several moderating factors were considered by the FWC during the decision-making process. These factors included the scheduled increase in the superannuation guarantee rate, forecasts indicating low unemployment and high participation rates, the impact on sectors heavily reliant on modern awards and casual employees, the FWC’s hesitation to adopt wage indexation as a method for determining wage increases, and the poor productivity performance in Australia.
By taking these factors into account, the FWC’s Expert Panel believed they arrived at a decision that balanced the need to address the impact of inflation and gender pay disparity with the economic circumstances and considerations for various sectors and workers.
Employers should take note of the following considerations:
- Award/Agreement-Free Employees: the new minimum weekly wage of $882.80 or $23.23 per hour (plus a 25% casual loading for casual employees) applies from the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2023.
- Modern Award Covered Employees: employees covered by modern awards are to be paid no less than the new modern award wage, including casual loading and other relevant factors.
- All-Inclusive Salary Employees: review salary packages of employees receiving all-inclusive salaries to ensure compliance with the new wage rates and the increased Superannuation Guarantee rate.
- Enterprise Agreement Covered Employees: employees covered by enterprise agreements must be paid in accordance with base rates specified in the agreement.
- High-Income Threshold: review the guarantee pay above the high-income threshold to ensure compliance with the revised threshold from 1 July 2023.
The recent confirmation by the FWC of this significant increase in national minimum and award wages underscores the need for employers in Australia to carefully consider and plan strategically.
It is crucial to find a balance between cost pressures and maintaining profitability which may require innovative approaches and efficient resource management. Ensuring compliance with the updated wage rates is of utmost importance to avoid any potential legal complications.
Additionally, understanding the implications specific to each sector and adjusting business strategies accordingly becomes essential, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Taking a holistic approach to employee compensation, going beyond wage rates, contributes to fostering a positive work environment and securing a competitive advantage.
By navigating these challenges with foresight and adaptability, employers can effectively respond to the ever-evolving labour landscape and ensure long-term success.
Akyra’s Key Takeaways
The National Minimum Wage (NMW) has been increased by 5.75 percent. The weekly minimum wage will rise from $812.60 to $882.80, and the hourly minimum wage will increase from $21.38 to $23.23.
Consequently, modern award minimum wages increased by a uniform 5.75 percent. Employers need to ensure compliance by paying employees covered by modern awards no less than the new minimum wage, including any applicable casual loading and other relevant factors.
Employers need to consider different employee categories and ensure compliance accordingly – e.g. award-free employees, modern award-covered employees, all-inclusive salary employees, enterprise agreement-covered employees and employees where there is a guarantee to pay them above the high-income threshold.
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The material distributed is general information only. The information supplied is not intended to be legal or other professional advice, nor should it be relied upon as such. You should seek legal or professional advice in relation to your specific situation.