Federal Minimum Wage Increase and Unfair Dismissal Changes

The Fair Work Commission's minimum wage panel has increased the Federal Minimum Wage by a modest 1.75% in recognition of the economic effects of the corona virus pandemic.

For anyone not covered by a Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement, the new national weekly minimum wage will be $753.80 – or $19.84 an hour – up $13 and will take effect 1 July 2020.

All Modern Award rates of pay will also increase by 1.75% however, the Commission has set differential start dates between July this year and February next year.

The Fair Work Commission president and minimum wage panel head Justice Iain Ross said three operative dates had been chosen based on the impacts of the pandemic on each sector.

Workers covered by "Group 1" awards, such as frontline healthcare and social assistance workers, teachers and childcare workers and other essential services, will receive their increase from July 1.

The Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award 2010 and Clerks (Private Sector) Award 2020 fall under “Group 2” awards. Workers covered by "Group 2" awards, in construction, manufacturing and other industries, will receive the increase from November 1.

Those in "Group 3", in accommodation/food services, arts/recreation, aviation, retail and tourism, will have to wait until February 1.

The 1.75% increase is lower than the latest consumer price inflation figure of 2.2%. NECA Legal will publish updated Wage Bulletins relating to Federal electrical and clerical workers the week before the increase takes effect 1 November 2020.

[Annual Wage Review 2019-2020 (2020) FWCFB 3500 (19 June 2020)]

From 1 July 2020 the application fee for dismissals, general protections and anti-bullying applications made under sections 365, 372, 394, 773 and 789FC of the Fair Work Act will increase to $74.50. The high income threshold under s382(b)(iii) of the Act excludes employees not covered by an award or agreement from making an unfair dismissal claim if they earn more than the amount prescribed in Regulation 2.13. Also effective from 1 July, this high income threshold in unfair dismissal cases will increase to $153,600 and the compensation limit will be $76,800 for dismissals occurring on or after 1 July 2020.

Disclaimer: This summary is a guide only and is not legal advice. For more information on employers’ wage obligations, call NECA Legal (WA) Pty Ltd on 6241 6129 or email necalegalwa@ecawa.org.au