by David Bates

During my last appearance on Switzer TV, I mentioned the Fair Work Commission would shortly announce their 2016 National Minimum Wage Decision. This is the annual announcement which confirms how much the minimum wage will rise on July 1.

Now, I didn’t want to sound too cynical about all this on the show, but I did feel compelled to predict that – as sure as day follows night and corruption follows some unions – the Commission would announce an increase that was somewhere between the amounts being demanded by big unions and big business.

I hate to say I told you so … but, I told you so.

In a truly unremarkable and instantly forgettable announcement, the Commission confirmed an increase of 2.4%, bringing the new National Minimum Wage for a full-time, permanent adult employee to $17.70 per hour or $672.70 for a 38-hour working week.

This 2.4% increase to the National Minimum Wage (which only applies to those employees who are not covered by a Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement) will also flow through to the thousands of other minimum wage rates contained in the more than 120 Modern Awards currently in force across the country.

Over the coming weeks the Commission will, once again, update and republish all of these Awards in advance of the new rates taking effect from July 1. This means employers – particularly small business employers who often struggle to pay their employees more than the minimum Award rates – will have to download the new version of their applicable Award and pass on the relevant increases.

If they don’t, they’ll risk becoming the latest in the long line of employers being targeted for prosecution by the increasingly zealous Fair Work Ombudsman.

Perhaps the only aspect of the Commission’s National Minimum Wage decision which is noteworthy (read bizarre) is that, as in previous years, the Commission ‘live-streamed’ its minimum wage announcement via a dedicated channel on its website.

Yes, they really did that.