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Staggered minimum wage increases in Australia further punish the most vulnerable workers

Last Thursday, guest blogger Scott Baum analysed the recent decision by the Fair work Commission – Annual Wage Review 2020-21 – on June 16, 2021, which raised the National minimum Wage in Australia to $772.60 per week or $20.33 per hour. See his blog post at – The working poor are still poor in Australia (July, 2021). Today, I also review that decision as part of my annual surveillance on minimum wage trends in Australia. The Fair Work Commission, is Australia’s wage setting tribunal, and as part of that task conducts an annual wage review which sets minimum wages across the nation. The minimum wage determination then flows on to other wage rates (these are the wage awards linked to the NMW). The decision is poor because it will further undermine the real living standards of tens of thousands of low paid workers. In particular, the decision to phase in the pay increases (November 2021 for Group 2 Awards and February 2022 for Group 3 Awards) is a disaster for low-paid workers in the hospitality, retail and tourism sectors. Meanwhile the major employer groups argued for zero or mimimal nominal rise while enjoying growth in profits with rising productivity growth. A scandalous indictment of our system.

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