FWC President Justice Iain Ross announced the decision, noting that the increase for a full-time employee working a 38-hour week is $15.80 per week (41 cents per hour).
The new minimum wage will be effective from 1 July 2013.
Points of note about the decision
The FWC said that it awarded a lower increase than last year because it took into account the increase in the superannuation guarantee amount from 1 July 2013, as well as lower GDP growth, an expected increase in unemployment and the effect of the carbon price on inflation.
The national minimum wage ‘directly affects over 1.5 million employees in Australia who are reliant upon award rates of pay or the national minimum wage’.
The FWC has a ‘range of considerations we are required to take into account’ that call ‘for the exercise of broad judgment, rather than a mechanistic approach to minimum wage fixation’.
The FWC noted that the minimum wage has effectively fallen over the last decade, not keeping pace with the level of wage increases generally.
It has asked government to consider tax measures to advantage the lowest paid rather than just increases to the minimum wage, which it calls a ‘blunt instrument’. It recognises ‘however that the tax-transfer system has its own limitations, including its impact on incentives to work’.
Recent increases in labour productivity have not been given significant weight in the decision, as the FWC considers it to be more prudent to wait and see whether the increases will be sustained.
View the decision