By Mike Atkinson | Drive producer and digital content creator
Australia’s lowest earners will receive a weekly boost of $22.20 from July 1 after The Fairwork Commission lifted the national weekly minimum wage to $694.90.
Both employers, who were looking for a small increase, and unions, who wanted more than double, are not happy.
Commission president Iain Ross said up to 2.3 million Australians will benefit from the rise.
“The level of increase we have decided upon will not lead to inflationary pressure and is highly unlikely to have any measurable negative impact on employment,” Justice Ross said.
“It will, however, mean an improvement in the real wages for those employees who are reliant on the national minimum wage and modern award minimum wages and an improvement in their relative living standards.”
Employers have slammed the decision as “devastating”, warning the increase could stunt employment growth.
Australian Retailers Association executive director, Russell Zimmerman said the 3.3% increase negates the funds saved in the retail sector by scrapping Sunday penalty rates.
“Today’s minimum wage increase of 3.3% will suppress the benefits achieved by the penalty rates reduction, negatively affecting increased trading hours for retailers and further delaying employment growth across the sector,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“With the inherent weakness in today’s economic climate, along with tax increases about to hit consumers, this upsetting increase will strongly impede on employment growth within the industry.”
Should the minimum wage be raised further or left alone?