The National Wage Case decision has been handed down and the result is that the minimum wage has increased by $16.00, or 2.5 per cent, a week. 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 2015. The new rates have been released in draft format and are expected to be finalised in the coming week. ACAPMA has developed Quick Reference Guides on wage rates and allowances that will be distributed once the new rates are finalised. ACAPMA members are encouraged to register to receive these Quick Reference Guides.

 National Wage Case

Each year, the Fair Work Commission 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.

Changes to the minimum wage have flow on effects to the wage rates in all of the Modern Awards, and come into effect for the first pay period on or after 1 July 2015.

 All employment instruments effected

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

Employers who use direct contracts or enterprise agreements 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.

 Wage Increase

The 2.5 per cent increase, which amounts to $16.00 a week, is significantly lower than employee groups were requesting.  In explaining the rationale for the increase, Justice Ross of the Fair Work Commission noted that  “the lower inflation and aggregate wages growth has favoured a more modest increase in minimum wages.”

Casuals

While the determinations on the general wage increase have been made it will be a few more days before the determinations on the increase that will be passed onto casuals will be released as it is determined in a different manner and is set as a fixed rate, not a percentage increase on a base. Once the casual rate determinations have been released ACAPMA will send the updated wage rate tables to all members in the form of the ACAPMA Quick Reference Guides.

 ACAPMA Quick Reference Guides

Each year ACAPMA produces Quick Reference Guides on the three main Awards for the downstream petroleum industry:

  • 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.

These Quick Reference Guides provide permanent and casual rates as well as information on common allowances and the structure of penalty rates within each award and are a no-nonsense guide to the key elements of the Awards.

The Quick Reference Guides for 2015/2016 financial year will be released soon after the final determinations on casuals and meal allowances are made by the Commission.

 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 $770 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.