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$738.40 wage increase for 300,000 Aussies today

Lucy Dean
·2-min read
Around 300,000 minimum wage workers will receive the increase from today. Images: Getty
Around 300,000 minimum wage workers will receive the increase from today. Images: Getty

Australia’s retail, fast food and warehouse workers will receive a pay rise from 1 February as the heavily disputed minimum wage increase comes into effect.

From Monday, the award minimum wage for around 300,000 workers in those sectors will increase by 37.3 cents an hour to hit $21.78. Over the course of a week, that’s a $14.20 increase for a full-time worker and $738.40 over a year.

Aviation, arts and recreation and tourism workers who receive the minimum wage will also receive the pay rise from today.

It comes after the Fair Work Commission ruled to stagger the 1.75 per cent minimum wage increase amid the COVID-19 pandemic, essentially delaying the hike by seven months.

The Commission said the delay was due to the country entering its first recession in nearly 30 years.

Around 2.2 million Australians are on the minimum wage, however healthcare workers, childcare workers and teachers received the increase in July last year, followed by construction and manufacturing workers in September.

The SDA union, which represents retail, fast food and online retail workers, 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.

“As a consequence, thousands of retail and other low paid workers who live from pay packet to pay packet have, as the FWC admits in its July decision, suffered ‘a decline in living standards’ for the past seven months as many of them served on the frontline, making sure the rest of the community could put food on the table as well as the other essentials of life.”

The SDA noted that these workers lost around $426 in the postponed pay rise, and said this cash can make a “vital difference” for minimum wage workers.

Dwyer noted that while it had successfully pressured major retailers including Woolworths and Coles into passing along the pay rise earlier, many other retailers and businesses chose to pause the raise.

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