The country’s yearly wage bill has grown by at least $2.2 billion, with the Fair Work Commission raising the national minimum wage by 3 per cent.
With the changes announced today, the new minimum wage will increase to $19.49 per hour, which is a change of 56 cents per hour.
These changes mean the take-home pay for a full-time employee on the minimum wage is now $740.80 per week.
While the changes fell short of the 6 per cent being lobbied for, and the $43 dollars per week rise that the Australian Council of Trade Unions had sought, it is higher than the 1.5 per cent national inflation rate.
Assistant secretary Liam O’Brien believes it is a win for employees, but there is still a long way to go.
“This is a welcome pay rise for millions of low-paid workers, especially in the face of further penalty rate cuts in a few weeks. No one in Australia should be living in poverty while working full time, but we know that thousands of people are facing this reality,” Mr O’Brien said.
The impact on business
Founder and managing director of Employsure Ed Mallet believes jobs might be at risk as small and medium enterprises struggle to pay the bills.
“Our small business clients tell us that there’s a lot of pressure, and that is where we can help SMEs prepare and understand what they need to do to deal with these changes,” Mr Mallet said.
“Most SMEs won’t be charging customers 3 per cent extra from 1 July but will need to come up with an extra $21.60 per week per employee, and many simply need support.”
When do the changes begin?
From 1 July 2019, the 2.2 million eligible workers will get a pay increase.
“In just over a month, businesses will need to absorb these changes and will be expected to be compliant,” Mr Mallet said.