Annual Wage Review 2015 - 16
31 May 2016
The Fair Work Commission’s Expert Panel (panel) handed down its decision on the National Minimum Wage and of minimum wages in modern awards following its annual review (Annual Wage Case 2015-16).
The Panel has determined that it is appropriate to increase the National Minimum Wage by 2.4%. The national minimum wage will be $672.70 per week or $17.70 per hour. The hourly rate has been calculated by dividing the weekly rate by 38, on the basis of the 38-hour week for a full-time employee. This constitutes an increase of $15.80 per week to the weekly rate or 41 cents per hour to the hourly rate.
The Panel has also determined that there will be an increase of 2.4% to modern award minimum wages.
In making its decision the Expert Panel is required to take into account the economy, social conditions, the labour market, relative living standards, the needs of the low paid, collective bargaining and equal remuneration.
These increases will come into operation on 1 July 2016. Weekly wages will be rounded to the nearest 10 cents.
Read the full decision Annual Wage Review 2015–16
Changes to Parental Leave
1 January 2016
Statutory entitlements to parental leave come from the Fair Work Act, National Employment Standards (NES). Unpaid parental leave is available to full-time, part-time and long-term casual employees (including employees in Western Australia whose employer is unincorporated).
Parental leave includes unpaid maternity leave, paternity leave and adoption leave. Each parent is entitled to be absent from work for separate periods of up to 12 months unpaid parental leave. An employee who takes 12 months of parental leave may request additional leave from their employer for up to 12 months.
Up till the 27 November 2015, an employer could refuse an employee's request to extend parental leave on "reasonable business grounds", giving the employee a written notice of the reasons for refusal within 21 days of the request being made.
From 27 November 2015 employers must to provide the employee requesting an extention to parental leave with a "reasonable opportunity" to discuss that extension prior to any refusal by the employer. The employer must take into account matters raised during the discussion before deciding whether or not to grant the extension.
Although there is no definityon of "reasonable opportunity", giving the employee reasonable opportunity would mean giving the employee sufficient time to allow them to make arrangements to meet with the employer. The meeting can be face-to-face, by phone or by any other means that may be convenient to the employee.
The aim of this change is to allow the employer and the employee to discuss the requret for extension of parental leave with a view to coming to an arrangement that will be suitable for all parties.
Changes from 1 July 2015
1 July 2015
From 1 July 2015
- National Minimum Wage will increase by 2.5% to $656.90 per week or $17.29 per hour
- Pay rates in Modern Awards will increase by 2.5%
- Higher income threshold increases from $133,000 to $136,700
- The filing fee for dismissals, general protections and anti-bullying applications made under the Fair Work Act will increase to $68.60
- Compensation limit for unfair dismissal claims will increase from $66,500 to $68,350
- Superannuation guarantee maximum contribution base (per quarter) will increase from $49,430 to $50,810.
- A new Fair Work Information Statement will be available from the Fair Work Australia website.
From 31 July 2015
- The value of a penalty unit (in legislation) will increase from $170 to $180
Issues for 2015-16 Financial Year
- Decisions on common issues arising from the 4-yearly review of Modern Awards.
- Annual leave: There will be changes to clauses in modern awards covering the cashing out of annual leave, granting annual leave in advance, direction to take annual leave, EFT payment of annual leave. Further information regarding proposed amendments can be obtained from the Fair Work Australia website
- Casual and part-time employment: Discussions regarding minimum period of engagement, payment of casual loading, pattern of work, fixation of hours of work and overtime.
- Family-friendly work arrangements and domestic violence clauses.
- Public holidays.
- Changes to Government Paid Parental Leave scheme: If the Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill 2015 is passed then parents who receive employer-funded paid parental leave may not be entitled to payments under the Government Paid Parental leave scheme. The proposed changes to the Government Paid Parental leave scheme will come into effect from 1 July 2016.
The Office for Employment Relations can provide you with assistance on this and other employment related matters. Please contact Jane Bashiruddin at the Office for Employment Relations on 03 9934 3355
Annual Wage Review 2014-2015 Decision
2 June 2015
The Fair Work Commission’s Expert Panel handed its decision on the annual minimum wage today. The Panel has awarded an increase of 2.5 per cent to the national minimum wage. From 1 July 2015, there will be an increase of $16.00 per week, which will bring the national minimum wage to $656.90 per week, or $17.29 per hour. The hourly rate has been calculated by dividing the weekly rate by 38, on the basis of the 38 hour week for a full-time employee.
“A number of considerations have led us to award a lower increase than that determined in last year’s review decision,” Justice Ross said.
Among these considerations was the reduction in inflation and aggregate wages growth, which Justice Ross referred to as “the most significant change” to occur during the past year.
The minimum wages in Modern Awards will also be increased by 2.5 per cent. Weekly wages will be rounded to the nearest 10 cents. This increase will also come into effect from 1 July 2015.
The full decision can be obtained from the Annual Wage Review website:
If your workers are paid according to a Modern Award, please check the relevant award for changes to pay rates.