Last Friday (19 June) the Fair Work Commission handed down its 2019-20 Annual Wage Review decision, increasing the national minimum wage and Modern Award wages by 1.75%.

On the basis that the COVID-19 pandemic has not impacted all industries equally, the FWC decided to increase minimum wages in three stages.  The national minimum wage will increase on 1 July 2020, as will rates of pay in Modern Awards covering sectors “less affected by the pandemic.”

Relevant to AMMA members, Modern Awards applying to the resources sector will have their rates of pay increased from the first full pay period after 1 November 2020.  This includes the Mining Industry Award 2020, Hydrocarbons Industry (Upstream) Award 2020 and Clerks Award 2020.

Awards covering sectors most adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g. aviation, retail and tourism) will have their wage increases delayed until 1 February 2021.

See from page 14 this summary of the full list of Modern Awards.

Impact on annualised salaries

The increase to Modern Award rates of pay affects employees’ annualised salary calculations, particularly in relation to employees’ outer limits of work.

AMMA recommends that members review and update their annualised salary calculations to reflect Modern Award wage increases from the relevant operative date.  For most AMMA members this will require you to reissue letters to affected employees in November 2020, outlining new outer limit calculations for annualised salary arrangements.

Increases to unfair dismissal threshold and filing fees

From 1 July, the high income threshold for unfair dismissal claims will increase to $153,600 (up from $148,700) and the compensation limit will be $76,800 (up from $74,350).

Other changes taking effect from 1 July include the filing fee for unfair dismissal, unlawful termination, general protections and anti-bullying applications made under relevant sections of the Fair Work Act increasing to $74.50 (up from $73.20).

Employers are encouraged to review and update their systems and process, particularly those relevant to employees’ salaries and wages, to ensure these changes are implemented and avoid penalties.

For more information or support regarding the increase to the national minimum wage or increases to Modern Award rates of pay, please contact your designated AMMA support representative or call 1800 627 771 to be connected with your local AMMA office.