Fair Work Commission Wage Changes Announced

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The Fair Work Commission recently announced the phasing in program for Sunday and penalty rates variations along with a 3.3% increase to the minimum wage, both of which will affect many businesses.

Minimum Wage Rise

The Fair Work Commission announced that minimum wages will increase by 3.3% as of 1 July 2017.

In the wake of this increase, all employers should review current pay rates for their Award based employees and hourly rates of pay should be reviewed and increased where appropriate. It is also a good time for employers to review the wage rates of employees on salary to ensure that any salary payable is at least meeting minimum pay rates.

The FWC will be commencing the process of updating relevant awards over the coming month – information on pay rates can be found at www.fairwork.gov.au

Sunday and Penalty rates

The FWC also announced the phasing in of new public holiday and Sunday penalty pay rates as of 1 July 2017.

Public Holiday Penalty rates

In February this year, amongst a lot of controversy, the Fair Work Commission decided to reduce the public holiday penalty rates in the Hospitality, Restaurant, Fast Food, Retail and Pharmacy Awards as shown in Table 1 below (the old rates being struck through):

Table 1
Proposed public holiday penalty rates in the Hospitality and Retail Awards Award title
Public holiday penalty rates (%)
Full-time & part-timeCasual
Hospitality Award (cl. 32)250 225275 250
Restaurant Award (cl. 34)250 225250
Retail Award (cl. 29)250 225275/250 250
Fast Food Award (cl. 30)250 225275 250
Pharmacy Award (cl. 31)250 225275 250

Sunday penalty rates

New pay rates for Sunday work in the Hospitality, Restaurant, Fast Food, Retail and Pharmacy Awards will be phased in over a 3-year period commencing on 1 July 2017, concluding the reduction down to the new rate by 1 July 2019.

For example, in the Hospitality award, new Sunday rates will be phased in as follows:

Full-time and part-time employees

1 July 2017 175 per cent > 170 per cent

1 July 2018 170 per cent > 160 per cent

1 July 2019 160 per cent > 150 per cent

The Restaurant, Fast Food, Retail and Pharmacy Awards have different phasing in rates which can be found at www.fairwork.gov.au

If you require any assistance in determining new wage or penalty rates for your employees, please contact our office on 4927 2900.
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