Franchise brands urged to review minimum wage increase

By Nick Hall | 02 Jul 2019 View comments

The end of financial year (EOFY) celebrations kicked off early for workers with the national minimum wage increase officially rolled out on Monday.

The minimum wage increase sees rates rise to $19.49 per hour (up from $18.93), or $740.80 per week (up from $719.20).

The three per cent bump is less than last year’s, however now means Australia will have the highest national minimum wage in the world.

Sandra Parker, Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) urged employers to be mindful of the update, particularly in light of recent franchise wage-theft reports.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman has a range of free tools available to help employers comply with their workplace obligations, which have been updated to reflect the new pay rates,” Parker said.

“We urge all businesses to visit our Pay and Conditions Tool to check the lawful minimum rates that they need to pay their staff, or to contact us directly for assistance.”

The minimum wage increase was announced by the Fair Work Commission back in May, following its ‘annual wage review’.

For franchisees and franchisors, it’s the updates to award, base rates that may cause the biggest headache.

Base rates for more than 700,000 employees in the hospitality, pharmacy, fast food and retail industries also increased by three per cent on Monday. However, July 1 also marked another cut to the industry’s penalty rate system.

The rates, reflecting what people earn on top of their usual hourly pay on a Sunday, will be dropped by between 10 and 15 per cent.

Parker suggested franchisees, small business owners and workers unsure whether the minimum wage increase affects them should consult the FWO’s online tools.

“Any workers with concerns about their pay should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman,” Parker said.