A minimum wage is an employee’s base rate of pay for ordinary hours worked. It is generally dependent on the industrial instrument that applies to their employment, for example, a modern award or registered agreement.

Every year, the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) Expert Panel reviews the minimum wages received by employees in the national workplace relations system. At the conclusion of this review, a national minimum wage order is made which applies from the first full pay period on or after 1 July each year, that is, 1 July 2018 this year.

A national minimum wage order outlines the minimum wage for award and agreement-free employees. The national minimum wage order must set the following wages for award or agreement-free employees:

  • a national minimum wage
  • a special national minimum wage for trainees, apprentices and junior employees, employees to whom training arrangements apply and employees with a disability
  • a casual loading.

The national minimum wage is currently $18.93 per hour or $719.20 per 38 hour week (before tax). Casual employees covered by the national minimum wage also get at least a 25% casual loading.

For award and agreement-free junior employees, the percentage scale in the Miscellaneous Award 2010 is applied to the national minimum wage. Most employees in the national workplace system are covered by a modern award. These contain the minimum wage, as well as other terms and conditions, for employees in particular industries and occupations.

Some awards can have transitional arrangements as determined by the FWC. Employers and employees should check their relevant modern award(s) to determine if transitional arrangements apply. Minimum wages under modern awards may include:

  • wage rates for adults, in some cases, at different rates according to experience and qualifications
  • wage rates for juniors, employees with a disability, and employees to whom training arrangements apply
  • casual loadings
  • piece rates.

Need Help?

If you have a query regarding the minimum wage and/or award, please contact one of our payroll accountants on (02) 9223 9166 to discuss. Alternatively, you can submit an online enquiry form