Industrial Relations Claims is reminding employers that the new national minimum wage is now in effect, increasing to $19.49 per hour, or $740.80 per week.
According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, compliance issues can often be traced back to when wage rates are changed because employers are not aware, or simply forget to change their workers’ pay rates.
The Fair Work Commission announced a three per cent increase to the minimum wage earlier this year, following its Annual Wage Review.
The increase applies from the first full pay period starting on or after July 1 2019.
For employees covered by a modern award, base rates have also increased by three per cent.
“It’s easy for employers to get caught out at this time of year if they don’t adjust pay rates for their workers,” Miles Heffernan from IR Claims said.
“The penalties for underpayments can be huge, and the have the potential to bankrupt a business, so it’s vitally important for employers to be across changes to the national minimum wage.”
Penalty rates cut
While the minimum wage has increased, about 70,000 workers have had their Sunday and public holiday penalty rates slashed.
The industries affected by the cuts are hospitality, retail, fast food and pharmacy.
It’s the third round of cuts which were ordered by the Fair Work Commission, with the aim of increasing productivity and jobs growth.
“Unfortunately, we have seen neither of those things happen – since these cuts first came into effect a few years ago, we have seen productivity decline, and not one new job created,” Mr Heffernan said.
“Unfortunately those who have to give up their Sundays and public holidays to work will see their wages shrink, while their employers get to pocket the difference and increase their profits.”
Fair Work urges employers to use Pay and Conditions Tool
The Fair Work Ombudsman is urging all businesses to visit its Pay and Conditions Tool to check the lawful minimum rates that they need to pay their staff.
“We encourage workers who receive award wages, such as juniors, apprentices and trainees, to visit our Pay and Conditions Tool and familiarise yourself with your new rates of pay,” Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said.
If you are unsure which award applies to you, you can use the FWO’s Find My Award tool.