The Fair Work Commission is responsible for reviewing and setting minimum wages for employees in the national workplace relations system.
Each financial year the Commission's Expert Panel for annual wage reviews conducts an annual wage review, and issues a decision and national minimum wage order for employees not covered by an award or agreement. The decision and order generally come into operation on 1 July of the following financial year.
The annual wage review directly affects employees in the national system who are:
The annual wage review is generally conducted in the second half of the financial year, from March to June.
The process involves:
In conducting the annual wage review, the Expert Panel is required under the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act) to review:
The Expert Panel must make sure that all persons and bodies have a reasonable opportunity to make, and also to comment on, written submissions for consideration in the review.
The Act requires all submissions to be published (unless the submission contains information that is confidential or commercially sensitive). This helps make sure that that any interested parties have a reasonable opportunity to make, and comment on, written submissions.
The Act also allows for investigations and reports for consideration in an annual wage review. All research undertaken for the purposes of an annual wage review must be published so that submissions can be made on the issues covered in that research.
At the end of the review the Expert Panel will issue its decision. This will be followed by the publication of determinations changing the minimum wage rates in modern awards, and a national minimum wage order for employees who are not covered by an agreement or award.
The Act provides for annual wage reviews to be conducted by an Expert Panel of the Commission.
The Expert Panel is made up of the President, three other full-time members and 3 part-time members.
The part-time members' sole function is to work on the annual wage review. Such members must have knowledge of, or experience in, one or more of the following fields:
The full-time members of the Expert Panel are chosen by the President from the full-time members of the Commission.
In conducting the annual wage review, the Expert Panel must consider the provisions and objectives outlined in the Act, in particular Part 2-6 which deals with minimum wages including the conduct of annual wage reviews.
The Expert Panel must consider both the 'minimum wages objective' (s.284) and the 'modern awards objective' (s.134).
The Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009 also requires the panel to review a number of transitional instruments.
Research for the annual wage review is undertaken or commissioned by the Workplace and Economic Research Section of the Commission, and endorsed by a Minimum Wages Research Group.
The Research Group is made up of a chair from the Workplace and Economic Research Section and representatives nominated by:
For information about your wages and pay rates, go to the Minimum wages page on the Fair Work Ombudsman's website.