Reading time: 3 minutes

Winter is coming and with it the end of the financial year. Besides getting your accounts in order, this time of year is often when changes to federal government policies and entitlements come into effect. These policies may impact your business, so it’s important to stay informed of any changes, including the recent increase in the minimum wage and various Award amounts. You need to be aware of your employees’ current entitlements to understand how these different pay rates will affect your business. You then need to ensure that you satisfy the new requirements before they come into effect.

Changes to Awards and the Minimum Wage

From the 1st July 2016, the new national minimum wage will increase to $672.70 per week or $17.70 per hour, and pay rates will increase by 2.4% across all Awards and some registered agreements.

As an employer, you are required to meet either the minimum pay requirements under the National Employment Standards (if no Award or agreement applies) or at the rate of pay set out in the applicable Award, enterprise or registered agreement.

If you do not meet these minimum wage and Award requirements, you may be required to pay back the unpaid entitlements owed to employees and pay fines per the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). Therefore, it is important to ensure that the rates of pay are correct from the start. Just this week a Perth restaurant was ordered to pay $13,822 back to two employees as they had underpaid the employees under the Restaurant Industry Award.

If your employee is currently paid less than the new minimum wage of $17.70 per hour, you should ensure from the 1st July 2016 you increase their wages to this amount. If your employees are already paid above this rate, for example, $18, then you are not required to change your rates of pay if no other Award, enterprise or registered agreement applies.

If you have any policies or agreements in place that set out rates of pay, these should also be updated to ensure that these documents reflect the new rates.

Does an Award Apply?

Many of our clients who are employers themselves ask us, “how do I know if an Award covers my employee?” This is reasonably easy to determine.

There are two different ways that Awards can apply. This can be either via industry type Awards, for example, employees working in the Retail Industry or Hospitality Industry are covered by each equivalent award. An Award could also relate to the type of job, for example, administrative assistance in an office can come under the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010.

If your employees’ role falls under an Award or an applicable registered agreement, you should refer to the updated pay rates and confirm that you are paying the minimum rates. If your employment agreements refer to the specific pay rates of these Awards, you should ensure that these are also updated.

For example, under the Restaurant Industry Award, the rate of pay for a Level 4 Food and beverage attendant grade 4 is currently $764.90 per week and $20.13 per hour. Under the new changes, the rates of pay would be $783.26 per week and $20.61 per hour.

Key Takeaways

As of July 1st, 2016, the amount of minimum wage and Awards will increase. If you are an employer, you should familiarise yourself with the changes and new rates, and adjust your employees’ wages accordingly.

If you are unsure about the changes to the minimum wage or Award rate of pay, then contact us today on 1300 544 755. Our employment lawyers can assist you with all your employment matters including employment agreement drafting and Awards research.


How Franchisors Can Avoid Misleading and Deceptive Conduct

Wednesday 18 May | 11:00 - 11:45am

Ensure your franchise is not accused of misleading and deceptive conduct. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

New Kid on the Blockchain: Understanding the Proposed Laws for Crypto, NFT and Blockchain Projects

Wednesday 25 May | 10:00 - 10:45am

If you operate in the crypto space, ensure you understand the Federal Government’s proposed licensing and regulation changes. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

How to Expand Your Business Into a Franchise

Thursday 26 May | 11:00 - 11:45am

Drive rapid growth in your business by turning it into a franchise. To learn how, join our free webinar. Register today.
Register Now

Day in Court: What Happens When Your Business Goes to Court

Thursday 2 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

If your business is going to court, then you need to understand the process. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Manage a Construction Dispute

Thursday 9 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

Protect your construction firm from disputes. To understand how, join our free webinar.
Register Now

Startup Financing: Venture Debt 101

Thursday 23 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how venture debt can help take your startup to the next level. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer