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A Timely Reminder: The Fair Work Commission ‘Awards’ Employees with a 2.5% Minimum Wage Increase, Commencing 1 July 2021

A Timely Reminder: The Fair Work Commission ‘Awards’ Employees with a 2.5% Minimum Wage Increase, Commencing 1 July 2021


On 16 June 2021, the Fair Work Commission handed down a decision regarding minimum wage. This decision included an increase of 2.5%, which is more than last year’s 1.75% increase but is still comparatively low with respect to previous years’ increases.

Last year, COVID-19 altered many ways in which things were carried out. One thing that it did change was the increase in the minimum wage. We saw a mere 1.75% increase in the minimum wage, with a staggered implementation to reflect the economic circumstances that accompanied the COVID-19 outbreak.

Many industries hoped that the FWC would take the same approach this year. However, it has only allowed for delays for the commencement of the increase for the Retail and Hospitality industries, which have notably been hit the hardest by the pandemic. This means workers in some industries will not be receiving a pay increase until September, and others until November this year. The Fair Work Commission issued its determination with a three-stage implementation process, meaning the increase is introduced for different industries at different times throughout 2021.

  1. Stage One – Most Awards will increase from the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2021. This includes Awards such as the Fast Food Industry Award, the Vehicle Repair, Services and Retail Award, Building and Construction General Award, Joinery and Building Trades Awards, Timber Industry Award, and the Clerks Private Sector Award. This does mean that some Awards are experiencing two increases within the 6-month period, as they were some of the Awards that were delayed in implementing the 2020-2021 wage increase.
  1. Stage Two – Stage Two will see the minimum wage increase for the Retail Industry Award. This will apply from the first full pay period on or after 1 September 2021.
  1. Stage Three – The other 21 Modern Awards will increase from the first full pay period on or after 1 November 2021. This notably includes the Fitness Industry Award, the Hair and Beauty Award, the Airline Awards, and the Hospitality Awards.

What does 2.5% look like in monetary terms?

The increase will mean employees on a minimum wage will be earning $20.33 per hour or $772.60 per week for a full-time worker. This totals to an $18.80 per week increase for full-time staff. This increase of course only affects employees who are being paid in accordance with Award rates, and not above the Award.

The increase commences and applies from the employers first full pay period, on or after 1 July 2021. This means that if the weekly pay period commences on Tuesdays, the new rate will apply from Tuesday 6 July 2021.

As a business, how can I stay compliant?

If you are unsure when your relevant Award increase comes into effect, please contact us for advice. Employers who may have staff that are covered under several Awards should be cautious that they are implementing the increases at the appropriate times.

As an Employee, how can I ensure I am being paid correctly?

If you are unsure what Award you are covered under, you can ask your employer for this information. If you need assistance in establishing your wage increase comes into effect, you should contact an employment law solicitor, such as one from Coutts, to make sure you are receiving the correct wage.

Has the recent COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown affected the increase?

As of 30 June 2021, the recent COVID outbreak and lockdown have not affected the minimum wage increase. However, we will continue to watch this space and provide updates as they become available, on our website.

Contact Coutts Lawyers & Conveyancers office today.

This blog is merely general and non-specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.

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