Fair Work Australia (FWA) has announced that the national minimum wage will rise by nearly $20 a week. In a decision handed down at 10:00 AM this morning, the organisation set wages for 2011/2012 at "... $589.30 per week or $15.51 per hour ... an increase of $19.40 per week or 51 cents per hour."
The increase is a fraction over the inflation rate of 3.3 percent which, if applied to last year's minimum wage of $569.90 would have yielded a new figure of $588.70.
In its statement about the decision, FWA said it is "... conscious of the hardship which has been inflicted on many businesses, particularly small businesses, by recent natural disasters in many parts of Australia and in Queensland in particular. A deferral of the rise in minimum wages would make some contribution towards easing the burden on those businesses. There are, however, a number of matters which weigh against the proposals which have been advanced. Of these, by far the most significant is the lack of any obvious mechanism to properly identify the employers affected and to whom the deferral should apply. There is an unacceptable risk of significant unfairness to employers and employees if the deferral mechanism does not effectively target the group in need."
The statement also says that deferring a pay rise would "... place some of the burden of adjustment on the lowest paid in the community, who might themselves be in a difficult financial position because of the effects of natural disasters on themselves and their families."
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