Young people and students moving to work and study in Australia are being reminded that the country has a new minimum wage. To avoid people being taken advantage of by employers, the Fair Work Ombudsman wants them to be aware that new minimum rates came into being on 1 July, 2013.
The new national minimum wage is $622.20 per week or $16.37 per hour. This applies to employees who aren’t covered by an award or agreement. The decision increases minimum weekly wages by 2.6% or an extra $15.80 a week. Unions are also reminding workers to check they are not missing out on wage increases which should have automatically come into play at the start of the new financial year.
Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney said that for many young and low paid workers the Fair Work Australia Annual Wage Review is their only chance of a pay rise. ‘Now that the minimum wage has gone up, all workplace agreements and contracts will need to be checked to make sure that the rates of pay stay above the legal minimum,’ she explained. ‘This means that some workers on workplace agreements or over award contracts will be entitled to a pay rise, because the award rate is the absolute minimum an employer can pay a worker,’ said Kearney.
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‘By now, most employees should have received their first pay slip of the new financial year, and they should check their wages against the legal minimum rates to ensure they are not being underpaid,’ she added.
Many workers on union negotiated collective agreements should also receive an annual pay rise from the start of the new financial year. ‘Unions encourage all workers to check their pay because we unfortunately cannot rely on all employers to automatically adjust wages in line with the minimum wages increase,’ Kearney pointed out. ‘We understand that the system can be complicated for workers to navigate, so we are urging workers to call our Australian Unions helpline if in doubt to get expert advice on what you should be paid and what you should do if your pay is incorrect,’ she added.