The Fair Work Commission has announced a 3% increase to the national minimum wage, effective 1 July 2019.
What is a minimum wage?
A minimum wage is the lowest wage you can be legally paid for your work. For the vast majority of people over 21 years or older, the wage should be at least $19.49 per hour because that is the national ‘minimum wage’ for adults.
For most people, their minimum wage is set out in a document called either an Award or an Enterprise Agreement, and could be higher than $19.49 per hour. If there is no Award or Enterprise Agreement that applies to the work you do and if you are 21 years or older, you still must be paid at least $19.49 per hour.
If you are employed as a casual, an extra amount called ‘Casual Loading’ will usually bring your minimum hourly wage up to $24.36 if you are 21 or older.
In some cases you can legally be paid less than $19.49 per hour, for example if you are under the age of 21. But you would still need to get the casual loading if you are a casual.
If an Award or Enterprise Agreement applies to you then you have to be paid the amount it says in the document. Your employer should help you to get a copy of that Award or Agreement, for example give you the name of it so you can look it up on the internet yourself. Then you can see if you are being paid the right amount. Or, you can contact your jobactive provider or the Fair Work Ombudsman and ask them to look it up for you. The Fair Work Ombudsman’s website (www.fairwork.gov.au) contains a range of useful information and online tools, including an online wage calculator.
A quick way to check your minimum wage, including any extra loadings, is to use the online wage calculator at https://calculate.fairwork.gov.au
You can also look at the full list of pay guides to find the award that applies to you at www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/minimum-wages/pay-guides
What is the current national minimum wage?
As of 1 July 2019, the national minimum wage for adults is $740.80 per full time week or $19.49 per hour. Casuals get another 25% on top of that, which works out to be $24.36 per hour. Remember, some Awards and Enterprise Agreements have a higher amount than the national minimum wage so you must be paid AT LEAST the national minimum wage.
If you are a junior employee (that is, you are under 21 years of age), a special national minimum wage will apply as the minimum amount you should be paid. Awards and Enterprise Agreements might have higher minimum rates so check what you are entitled to. If you are doing an apprenticeship or traineeship, or if you have a disability, there are different special national minimum wage rates.