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Low paid workers in all industries are better off from today

"The Fair Work Commission's Annual Wage Review increase of 3% is operative from today, delivering a real wage increase to hundreds of thousands of low paid workers. ACTU claims that workers will suffer because of Sunday penalty rate adjustments do not stand the most cursory of scrutiny and will no doubt be called out once again as 'fanciful' in various independent Fact Checks," Australian Industry Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

"Here are the facts:

  • A 3% wage increase will deliver a significant real wage increase to low paid workers, given that the inflation rate is currently 1.3%.
  • The 3% increase in award wages significantly exceeds average wage movements.
  • The 3% wage increase applies to minimum award wages in all industries. In contrast, the modest adjustment to Sunday penalty rates only applies to awards in the retail, fast food and hospitality industries.
  • The 3% wage increase applies to rates paid on every day of the week. In contrast, the modest adjustment to Sunday penalty rates only applies on one day of the week.
  • Employees typically work on more than one day of the week; not just on Sundays. Therefore, employees in all industries have had their wages boosted to a much greater extent by the 3% Annual Wage Review increase, than any adjustment in Sunday penalty rates.
  • The rate payable to workers in the retail, fast food and hospitality industries on Sundays remains much higher than the rate payable on week days.
  • In 2017, a five Member Full Bench of the independent Fair Work Commission decided to modestly adjust Sunday penalty rates in the retail, fast food and hospitality industries after a case that continued for over two years and involved around 40 hearing days, over 140 witnesses and approximately 6,000 submissions. The Full Bench decided that the previous Sunday penalty rates were no longer fair or relevant and needed to be modestly adjusted. The Commission's decision was upheld by the Full Court of the Federal Court.

"The result of the 1 July 2019 changes to awards is clear. Low paid workers in all industries are better off," Mr Willox said.


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Tony Melville – 0419 190 347