An increase in minimum wages that was set to take place in July last year, but was delayed by the Fair Work Commission due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on some industries, has come into effect.
From February 1, workers in retail and hospitality will receive an increase in the award minimum wage of 37.3 cents an hour to hit $21.78. That equates to a $14.20-per week increase for a full-time worker, or $738.40 over a year.
The increase also applies to workers in warehouses, aviation, arts and recreation and tourism.
The Fair Work Commission ruled in 2020 to stagger the 1.75 per cent minimum wage increase amid the COVID-19 pandemic, delaying the hike by seven months – a move heavily criticised by unions including the SDA union, which represents retail, fast food and online retail workers, which said that the seven month wait was inexcusable.
“Only today a dark chapter will finally end for retail and fast food workers who have suffered a seven month pay freeze imposed by the Fair Work Commission despite serving Australians on the frontline during the worst of the pandemic,” said the national secretary of the SDA Gerard Dwyer.
However, Restaurant & Catering Australia at the time slammed the decision to increase the minimum wage, saying it could result in job losses and hour cuts at a precarious time for the hospitality industry.
“This decision means one thing to the thousands of businesses and workers in the restaurant café, and catering sector – less hours available and less jobs on offer,” R&CA CEO Wes Lambert said.
“At a time when businesses across our sector are reliant on billions of dollars of JobKeeper payments to ensure staff continue to stay in work, this decision will result in further revision of hours for staff and sadly may see some staff stood down.”