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How Does the Minimum Wage in Australia Compare?

by Samuel Williamson

2 min read

The minimum wage, as its name implies, is the minimum payment you’re entitled to per hour while employed. Currently, Australias minimum wage is $17.70 per hour, and causal employees get at least 25% loading. So, how does this measure up on a global scale? Pretty well, it turns out.

What Is the National Minimum Wage?

The national minimum wage (NMW) is a base rate of pay for ordinary hours not overtime worked, and it depends on the award, enterprise agreement, pay scale or wage order that applies to the employment. It is underpinned by legislation, and employers and employees can’t agree to a rate of pay that’s less than the minimum wage.

An expert panel at the Fair Work Commission (FWC) reviews minimum wages in Australia annually and any adjustments take effect on 1 July each year. Under modern awards, minimum wages may include:

  • Wages for adults in some cases, different rates for experience and qualifications
  • Wages for juniors, those with a disability or with training provisions in place
  • Casual loadings
  • Piece rates payment for each item produced

Where are we now?

Last year, the Fair Work Commissions Annual Wage Review (AWR) saw a 2.4% increase to Australias NMW or an average weekly income of $672.70 for Australias lowest paid workers.

For Australians not covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement usually casual or part-time workers the NMW would apply. This means a guaranteed hourly rate of $17.70, adding up to an extra $15.80 per week for 1.8 million of Australias low-income earners.

Comparing Minimum Wages

Despite the recent increase to Australias NMW, for some, our minimum may still seem quite low. For a fair perspective, we compare Australias NMW with some of the worlds biggest economies:

      United Kingdom: AU$14.66 per hour

      New Zealand: AU$14.22 per hour

      France: AU$14.98 per hour

      Germany: AU$13.17 per hour

      Canada: AU$10.45AU$13.81 per hour

      United States: AU$10.08 per hour

      Japan: AU$10.01 per hour

      Mexico: AU$5.50 per hour

      China: AU$1.68AU$3.93 per hour

      Brazil: AU$341.16 per month

      India: AU$3.09AU$7.44 per day

When compared with other economies, its clear Australia is paving the way for the underprivileged with, arguably, the most generous minimum wage in the developed world.

As your business grows or changes occur, particularly in the AWR, you must be aware of your financial reporting regulations, including keeping detailed records of all types of staff payments. Using accounting software such as QuickBooks Online can also help take the hassle out of your monthly payroll procedures

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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