The Fair Work Commission has announced a 1.75% increase to minimum wages ($753.80 per week or $19.84 per hour) which will apply to all awards.

The 1.75% increase also applies to:

  • junior employees
  • employees to whom training arrangements apply
  • employees with a disability.

The significant difference with this decision is when this increase will be rolled out, with all awards grouped into one of three groupings.

The plan is stagger the rollout of the increases from awards least affected by COVID through to the most affected.

The least-effected group, has a 1 July start date for the increase. The remaining awards will be increased either from 1 November 2020 or 1 February 2021 depending on the grouping.

Group 1 Awards – from 1 July 2020

  • Frontline Heath Care & Social Assistance Workers
  • Teachers and Child Care
  • Other Essential Services

Specific Awards in Group 1

The new minimum wages will start in the following awards from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2020.

  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Award
  • Aged Care Award
  • Ambulance and Patient Transport Industry Award
  • Banking, Finance and Insurance Award
  • Cemetery Industry Award
  • Children’s Services Award
  • Cleaning Services Award
  • Corrections and Detention (Private Sector) Award
  • Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award
  • Educational Services (Teachers) Award
  • Electrical Power Industry Award
  • Fire Fighting Industry Award
  • Funeral Industry Award
  • Gas Industry Award
  • Health Professionals and Support Services Award
  • Medical Practitioners Award
  • Nurses Award
  • Pharmacy Industry Award
  • Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award
  • State Government Agencies Award
  • Water Industry Award

Group 2 Awards – from 1 November 2020

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • A range of other industries

Specific Awards in Group 2

The new minimum wages will start in the following awards from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 November 2020.

  • Aluminium Industry Award
  • Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award
  • Aquaculture Industry Award
  • Architects Award
  • Asphalt Industry Award
  • Black Coal Mining Industry Award
  • Book Industry Award
  • Broadcasting, Recorded Entertainment and Cinemas Award
  • Building and Construction General On-site Award
  • Business Equipment Award
  • Car Parking Award
  • Cement, Lime and Quarrying Award
  • Clerks—Private Sector Award
  • Coal Export Terminals Award
  • Concrete Products Award
  • Contract Call Centres Award
  • Cotton Ginning Award
  • Dredging Industry Award
  • Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award
  • Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award
  • Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award
  • Gardening and Landscaping Services Award
  • Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award
  • Higher Education Industry-Academic Staff-Award
  • Higher Education Industry-General Staff-Award
  • Horticulture Award
  • Hydrocarbons Field Geologists Award
  • Hydrocarbons Industry (Upstream) Award
  • Joinery and Building Trades Award
  • Journalists Published Media Award
  • Labour Market Assistance Industry Award
  • Legal Services Award
  • Local Government Industry Award
  • Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award
  • Marine Towage Award
  • Maritime Offshore Oil and Gas Award
  • Market and Social Research Award
  • Meat Industry Award
  • Mining Industry Award
  • Miscellaneous Award
  • Mobile Crane Hiring Award
  • Oil Refining and Manufacturing Award
  • Passenger Vehicle Transportation Award
  • Pastoral Award
  • Pest Control Industry Award
  • Pharmaceutical Industry Award
  • Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award
  • Port Authorities Award
  • Ports, Harbours and Enclosed Water Vessels Award
  • Poultry Processing Award
  • Premixed Concrete Award
  • Professional Diving Industry (Industrial) Award
  • Professional Employees Award
  • Rail Industry Award
  • Real Estate Industry Award
  • Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award
  • Road Transport and Distribution Award
  • Salt Industry Award
  • Seafood Processing Award
  • Seagoing Industry Award
  • Security Services Award
  • Silviculture Award
  • Stevedoring Industry Award
  • Storage Services and Wholesale Award
  • Sugar Industry Award
  • Supported Employment Services Award
  • Surveying Award
  • Telecommunications Services Award
  • Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award
  • Timber Industry Award
  • Transport (Cash in Transit) Award
  • Waste Management Award
  • Wool Storage, Sampling and Testing Award

Group 3 Awards – from 1 February 2021

  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Arts and Recreation Services
  • Aviation
  • Retail
  • Tourism

Specific Awards in Group 3

The new minimum wages will start in the following awards from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 February 2021.

  • Air Pilots Award
  • Aircraft Cabin Crew Award
  • Airline Operations-Ground Staff Award
  • Airport Employees Award
  • Alpine Resorts Award
  • Amusement, Events and Recreation Award
  • Commercial Sales Award
  • Dry Cleaning and Laundry Industry Award
  • Fast Food Industry Award
  • Fitness Industry Award
  • General Retail Industry Award
  • Hair and Beauty Industry Award
  • Horse and Greyhound Training Award
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award
  • Live Performance Award
  • Mannequins and Models Award
  • Marine Tourism and Charter Vessels Award
  • Nursery Award
  • Professional Diving Industry (Recreational) Award
  • Racing Clubs Events Award
  • Racing Industry Ground Maintenance Award
  • Registered and Licensed Clubs Award
  • Restaurant Industry Award
  • Sporting Organisations Award
  • Travelling Shows Award
  • Vehicle Repair, Services and Retail Award
  • Wine Industry Award

What Employers Need to Do

Employers need to take note of the awards that cover their employees and the dates the adjustments will take effect for their award.

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website to access their pay calculator tool or pay guides to get the latest figures.

You should also check if there are any allowances or piece rates for your employees that use the base rate of pay in the relevant award as a basis for calculation, and remember to also adjust these in your payroll system.

Other awards that have changes from 1 July

There are other changes starting from 1 July in the following awards arising from Modern Award reviews.

  • Aged Care Award
  • Building and Construction Award
  • Joinery Award
  • Miscellaneous Award
  • Mobile Crane Award
  • Social and Community Services Award.

Social and Community Services Award

Casual employees covered by the Social and Community Services Award will get their casual loading in addition to the penalty rates when they work on Saturday, Sunday or overtime.

For weekend work, casuals will be paid:

  • 175% of their ordinary hourly rate for work on Saturday
  • 225% of their ordinary hourly rate for work on Sunday.

Aged Care Award

The Commission confirmed an increase in the casual rate for work on weekends and on a public holiday.

Casuals covered by the Aged Care Award are now entitled to:

  • 175% of the ordinary hourly rate for work on Saturday
  • 200% of the ordinary hourly rate for work on Sunday
  • 275% of the ordinary hourly rate for work on a public holiday.

Building and Construction Award

The Commission has made various changes to the Building and Construction Award. These are:

  • removing a number of special rates and allowances and increasing the industry allowance, to simplify wages (clause 21.1)
  • introducing time off instead of overtime (clause 36.17)
  • adding an early morning shift (clause 34.1)
  • varying the living away from home – distant work arrangements (clause 25.4)
  • updating the fares and travel pattern allowance (clause 25.1)
  • altering the rates for forepersons and supervisors (clause 43.2)
  • annual leave loading will now be calculated on the employees ordinary hourly rate (clause 38.2)
  • soil and concrete and aggregate testing employees are no longer covered by the award.

Joinery Award

The Commission has made the following changes to the Joinery Award:

  • updating the transfers, travelling and working away from the usual place of work provision (clause 24.5)
  • introducing time off instead of overtime (clause 30.9)
  • employers and a majority of their employees can now agree on changing ordinary hours of work and rostering, breaks and overtime (clause 31.1).

Mobile Crane Award

The changes clarify and change the amount of the accommodation and overnight allowance in clause 14.3(e).

Miscellaneous Award

The Commission has varied the Miscellaneous Award to clarify who it covers. The clarification means employees who were previously not covered by an award, might now be covered by it.

The Miscellaneous Award now covers employees who have up to an advanced trade qualification or sub-professional employees who are not covered by another modern award and who are not excluded from coverage by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (e.g. employees who have a high income guarantee), but continues to exclude managerial employees and professional employees such as accountants and finance, marketing, legal, human resources, public relations and information technology specialists.

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Ingrid: Lead Author, Australian Employee Manual

HR Author and Lecturer with over 25 years' experience in human resources and workplace relations in Australia. Lead Author of Instant HR Policies & Procedures, NDIS Direct Employment HR Manual, and Employee Performance Reviews: Tips, Templates and Tactics.