Millions to get pay rise tomorrow, thousands more could get one soon

·3-min read
People walking in the Sydney CBD and a person holding $50 notes to represent that workers could be in for a pay rise.
Gig economy workers are hoping for a pay rise under a new Government proposal. (Source: Getty)

More than 2 million workers will get a pay rise as of tomorrow when the official minimum wage rise kicks in.

The minimum wage was boosted 5.2 per cent by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) earlier this month and will come into effect from July 1.

This means that those on the minimum wage will get an extra $40 per week, and will now take home around $812.60 a week.

But it’s not just minimum wage workers expecting a pay rise.

Gig economy workers could soon have minimum standards enforced by the wages umpire too, under a proposal by the Federal Government.

The Government said it would look to extend the powers of the FWC to set rates of minimum pay for workers in areas such as ride-share or food-delivery services.

Employment Minister Tony Burke said the Government was working on legislation and would look to work alongside unions and gig economy services to assist with the reform.

"We don't want Australia to be the sort of country that allows workers to earn less than the minimum wage or be subjected to dangerous, unregulated conditions," he said.

"Australians want the flexibility and the convenience of the gig economy, but they don't want the people on the other end of the app getting ripped off or dying on our roads."

Burke said the FWC would be the right independent body to enforce the changes.

"This will deliver a national approach that gives the commission the scope and flexibility it needs to deal with 'employee-like' forms of work," Burke said.

"We've got a step in the right direction, but it is only sustainable if we then take the step and legislate for the Fair Work Commission to be able to put down some minimum standards."

Prices will go up

Burke said his Government’s endeavours to set minimum standards for gig workers would result in “small increases” in prices for services, but argued this was a price worth paying to ensure all workers are treated fairly.

Burke admitted customers would likely see higher prices for services captured in the gig economy.

“It may mean there’s a marginal increase in getting a pizza delivered to your home or something like that,” Burke told ABC Radio.

Burke said all employees deserved to make a minimum wage.

“We are not a nation where we’re worked on the basis that you should make tips before you can make ends meet,” he said.

“We’ve always worked on the basis that there should be minimum wages, and at the moment we have a section of the economy where there’s effectively no minimum wage, and that can’t go on.”

- With AAP

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