Minimum wage review to begin in March next year

Fair Work Australia will begin its annual wage review in March next year, with final consultations to occur in May

By Brad Gardner | October 18, 2011

The industrial relations umpire plans to begin its annual minimum wage review in March next year, with final consultations to happen in May.

In a statement released late last week, Fair Work Australia says its minimum wage panel plans to review wages between March and June 2012. It has given stakeholders until October 28 to respond to the proposal.

Final consultations are scheduled to be held between May 14 and 18, altering previous practice where consultations were completed within two days.

"Out of an abundance of caution we have allowed five days at this stage. After the expressions of interest have been received, that is after 4 May 2012, we may be able to give a more precise indication of the program for the final consultations, including the number of days that will be needed," Justice Geoffrey Giudice says in a statement.

Fair Work Australia in June this year increased wages under the modern award system by 3.4 percent. It also increased the minimum wage by $19.40.

The changes affected trucking operators employing drivers under the Road Transport and Distribution Award and the Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award.

Fair Work Australia’s decision lifted the national minimum weekly wage for award and agreement-free workers to $589.30 or $15.51 per hour.

The union movement wanted a $28 wage increase across the board, while the Australian Industry Group argued for a $14 rise.

Fair Work Australia also rejected a push from business groups for transitional assistance for businesses affected by recent natural disasters, such as the severe flooding in Queensland earlier this year.

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