The Fair Work Commission (FWC) undertakes the National Wage Case each year to determine if, and to what level the minimum wage should be increased.  Today the FWC handed down the decision that the minimum wage will be increased by 3.5% from the first pay period on or after the 1st  July 2018.  This is the biggest increase since 2011 and higher still than the 3.3% increase that was handed down for the 2017/2018 year and will have an impact on the base rate in all Modern Awards.

The decision will have a flow on effect to all of the Modern Awards and will result in increases in the base rates that are applicable in all Awards.  In the coming weeks the FWC will release draft and then final determinations for each of the Awards.

National Wage Case

The National Wage Case decision that has been handed down resulted in the minimum wage increasing 3.5%, a week to $18.93 per hour. This has a clear flow-on effect to the wage rates in all Modern Awards and thus requires all employers to review their employment instruments before the new rates come into effect on 1 July 2018.

Each year, the FWC reviews the cost of living, economy-wide productivity indicators and the general health of the Australian economy to determine if the minimum wage rates set in the Awards are commensurate with a living wage. While not all National Wage Cases result in an increase in the minimum wage, most do.

The 3.5% increase for the 2018/2019 year is significantly lower than the $50 a week increase employee groups were requesting (7.2% increase) but represents a sharp increase on the rates of the previous few years.

Year Minimum Wage Per Hour % increase over previous year
2006 $13.47
2007 $13.74 2.00%
2008 $14.31 4.15%
2009 $14.31 0.00% – NO CHANGE
2010 $15.00 4.85%
2011 $15.51 3.40%
2012 $15.96 2.90%
2013 $16.37 2.60%
2014 $16.87 3.00%
2015 $17.29 2.50%
2016 $17.70 2.40%
2017 $18.29 3.30%
2018 $18.93 3.50%


ACAPMA Employment Quick Reference Guides

It is important for business operators to remember that the National Wage Case sets the Minimum Wage, but that the rates that must be provided to those working in the downstream petroleum industry will be changed by the FWC making formal amendments to the Awards, and that these changes are not always a simple increase by the standard percentage, especially for casuals in the retail sector.  So while we know today the new National Minimum Wage, we will have to wait for the final determinations to vary the Awards before we have the final rates that will apply for 2018/2019 financial year.

ACAPMA is eagerly anticipating the release of the draft and then final determinations from the FWC, which are typically released around the third week of June.  These determinations will translate this minimum wage decision into changes to the Modern Awards.  ACAPMA is ready to prepare and circulate the ACAPMA Quick Reference Guides to ACAPMA Members.

ACAPMA’s employment department produces Quick Reference Guides each year, to summarise key Award requirements, including finalised rates for:

  • The Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010 for fuel tanker drivers,
  • The Vehicle Manufacturing Repair Services and Retail Award 2010 for console operators, roadhouse and driveway attendants, and
  • The Clerks Private Sector Award 2010 for clerical staff.

All employment instruments effected

While the National Wage Case directly changes the wage rates in the Modern Awards there is also a flow on effect to all employment instruments.

Employers who use direct contracts, enterprise agreements, individual flexibility agreements or racked rates must take the time to review the wage rates contained within those instruments as the National Employment Standards, which apply to all employees, provide for the Modern Award rates to be the basis for all wage rates, regardless of instrument.

All employers need to review the base rates in their instruments to ensure they are equal to, or above the levels set in, the Modern Awards after the National Wage Case increase.

Register now so you don’t miss out

The ACAPMA Quick Reference Guides will be sent to the Principle members upon their release; however, all members are encouraged to have the responsible persons in their business, such as payroll or workplace relations managers, register to receive these Guides on their release, to ensure they receive the information in a timely fashion.

To register to receive the ACAPMA Quick Reference Guides and other key workplace relations information please email employment@acapma.com.au to add key staff to the Employment distribution list.

Here to Help

ACAPMA members are reminded that the ACAPMA Employment Professionals are available to assist with wages and Awards. For more information just call 1300 160 270.

HR Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general advice and you should seek further advice on your situation by calling 1300 160 270 and speaking to one of the ACAPMA Workplace Relations Professionals its free for members. ACAPMA membership is affordable at only $810 per year for a single site and valuable with sites gaining HR and IR advice support and representation as well as a raft of other benefits and discounts.