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2021 Minimum Wage Increase

Published June 17, 2021 (last updated May 24, 2023) - ANZ Head of Legal Services
employer who has to implement the minimum wage increase 2021

After the challenge of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns, business owners have to climb a new hurdle from 1 July 2021. The Fair Work Commission has decided to increase the national minimum wage by 2.5% to $20.33 per hour, a $0.49 hourly rate rise. In other words, the minimum a full-time employee will receive is $772.60 per week, an increase of $18.80.

The rise in wages will again be staggered over several months for certain industries. While most will see the increase take effect in July, general retail will be delayed until the first full pay period on or after September 1. Workers covered by more than 20 awards, including tourism, hospitality, restaurant, fitness, hair and beauty, and aviation won’t see an increase until after November 1.

The staggered approach to increasing the minimum wage across certain industries may cause confusion for employers. With international borders still closed for the foreseeable future, and snap lockdowns still clearly well on the cards, employers must use this time to try and preserve as much cash as they can, until the COVID-19 vaccine fully rolls out and overseas travellers can enter.

Annual Wage Review

Since 2010, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has raised the minimum wage every year. Until last year, the national minimum wage and all Awards received the increase from the first full pay period on or after 1 July. The FWC does their research and encourages input from industry, businesses and individuals who will be affected by any changes.

Given that 2020 was not a typical year, for the first time Award increases were staggered at three intervals: 1 July 2020; 1 November 2020; and 1 February 2021.

The wage rates affect all employees under the national workplaces relations system. To better understand if your business falls under the national workplace relations system or not, please visit this blog.

What is the Minimum Wage?

The Minimum Wage is the lowest amount you can pay an Employee who works for a business that falls under the National Workplace Relations System, this means employees to whom an Award applies that was introduced under the Fair Work Act 2009. 

Permanent full-time and part-time award free adult employees must be paid at least the minimum wage rate as their base rate of pay per hour worked, currently $19.84 per hour, or $753.80 per week (before tax) based on a 38-hour working week.

 The base rate of pay does not include any of the following:

  • incentive‑based payments or bonuses;
  • loadings;
  • allowances;
  • overtime; or
  • penalty rates

Casual employees are paid the minimum wage rate plus a ‘casual loading’ of at least 25% of the minimum wage.

How are the Awards staggered?

  • Awards affected from 1 July

    • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Award 2020
    • Aged Care Award 2010
    • Aluminium Industry Award 2020
    • Ambulance and Patient Transport Industry Award 2020
    • Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award 2020
    • Aquaculture Industry Award 2020
    • Architects Award 2020
    • Asphalt Industry Award 2020
    • Australian Government Industry Award 2016
    • Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2020
    • Black Coal Mining Industry Award 2010
    • Book Industry Award 2020
    • Broadcasting, Recorded Entertainment and Cinemas Award 2020
    • Building and Construction General On-site Award 2020
    • Business Equipment Award 2020
    • Car Parking Award 2020
    • Cement, Lime and Quarrying Award 2020
    • Cemetery Industry Award 2020
    • Children’s Services Award 2010
    • Cleaning Services Award 2020
    • Clerks—Private Sector Award 2020
    • Coal Export Terminals Award 2020
    • Commercial Sales Award 2020
    • Concrete Products Award 2020
    • Contract Call Centres Award 2020
    • Corrections and Detention (Private Sector) Award 2020
    • Cotton Ginning Award 2020
    • Dredging Industry Award 2020
    • Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award 2020
    • Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award 2020
    • Educational Services (Teachers) Award 2020
    • Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award 2010
    • Electrical Power Industry Award 2020
    • Fast Food Industry Award 2010
    • Fire Fighting Industry Award 2020
    • Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award 2010
    • Funeral Industry Award 2020
    • Gardening and Landscaping Services Award 2020
    • Gas Industry Award 2020
    • Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award 2020
    • Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2020
    • Higher Education Industry-Academic Staff-Award 2020
    • Higher Education Industry-General Staff-Award 2020
    • Horse and Greyhound Training Award 2020
    • Horticulture Award 2020
    • Hydrocarbons Field Geologists Award 2020
    • Hydrocarbons Industry (Upstream) Award 2020
    • Joinery and Building Trades Award 2020
    • Journalists Published Media Award 2020
    • Labour Market Assistance Industry Award 2020
    • Legal Services Award 2020
    • Local Government Industry Award 2020
    • Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2020
    • Marine Towage Award 2020
    • Maritime Offshore Oil and Gas Award 2020
    • Market and Social Research Award 2020
    • Meat Industry Award 2020
    • Medical Practitioners Award 2020
    • Mining Industry Award 2020
    • Miscellaneous Award 2020
    • Mobile Crane Hiring Award 2020
    • Nurses Award 2010
    • Oil Refining and Manufacturing Award 2020
    • Passenger Vehicle Transportation Award 2020
    • Pastoral Award 2020
    • Pest Control Industry Award 2020
    • Pharmacy Industry Award 2020
    • Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award 2020
    • Port Authorities Award 2020
    • Ports, Harbours and Enclosed Water Vessels Award 2020
    • Poultry Processing Award 2020
    • Premixed Concrete Award 2020
    • Professional Diving Industry (Industrial) Award 2020
    • Professional Employees Award 2020
    • Rail Industry Award 2020
    • Real Estate Industry Award 2020
    • Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award 2020
    • Road Transport and Distribution Award 2020
    • Salt Industry Award 2020
    • Seafood Processing Award 2020
    • Seagoing Industry Award 2020
    • Security Services Award 2020
    • Silviculture Award 2020
    • Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010
    • State Government Agencies Award 2020
    • Stevedoring Industry Award 2020
    • Storage Services and Wholesale Award 2020
    • Sugar Industry Award 2020
    • Supported Employment Services Award 2020
    • Surveying Award 2020
    • Telecommunications Services Award 2020
    • Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award 2020
    • Timber Industry Award 2020
    • Transport (Cash in Transit) Award 2020
    • Vehicle Repair, Services and Retail Award 2020
    • Waste Management Award 2020
    • Water Industry Award 2020
    • Wool Storage, Sampling and Testing Award 2020
  • Awards affected from 1 September

    • General Retail Industry Award 2020
  • Awards affected from 1 November

    • Air Pilots Award 2020
      Aircraft Cabin Crew Award 2020
      Airline Operations – Ground Staff Award 2020
      Airport Employees Award 2020
      Alpine Resorts Award 2020
      Amusement, Events and Recreation Award 2020
      Dry Cleaning and Laundry Industry Award 2020
      Fitness Industry Award 2020
      Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2010
      Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2020
    • Live Performance Award 2020
      Mannequins and Models Award 2020
      Marine Tourism and Charter Vessels Award 2020
      Nursery Award 2020
      Racing Clubs Events Award 2020
      Racing Industry Ground Maintenance Award 2020
      Registered and Licensed Clubs Award 2020
      Restaurant Industry Award 2020
      Sporting Organisations Award 2020
      Travelling Shows Award 2020
      Wine Industry Award 2020

What if I have an Enterprise Agreement?

Workers employed through enterprise agreements or individual agreements made with their employer are also subject to the minimum wage, or the minimum award rate where an award would otherwise apply, and any pay calculations in the agreement must be reflect at least the same pay increase as the minimum wage increase.

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About Employsure

Employsure is one of Australia’s largest workplace relations advisers to small- and medium-businesses. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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