The Fair Work Commission (FWC) handed down its annual wage review decision which increased the National Minimum Wage and all Modern Award minimum wages by 3% effective from the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2019.
The Fair Work Commission’s recent annual wage review decision affects minimum wages in all Modern Awards, including the two awards that apply to most employees in private medical practices, the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010 and the Nurses Award 2010.
Q: Where can I access Modern Award minimum wages?
AMA (NSW) prepares Quick Reference Rates Sheets to help members quickly identify Modern Award minimum rates payable to practice staff. These are available for our members to download on the Employer Quick Links page of our website (amansw.com.au). The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) also publishes pay guides for all Modern Awards which are available on the FWO website.
Q: Who is affected?
The increase will affect all private sector employees whose minimum pay rates are set by a Modern Award. This includes most practice nurses, health professionals and support/administration staff in private practices. Some doctors who are employed in the private sector (e.g. private hospitals) may also receive an increase. However, the increase won’t affect independent contractors or public sector employees.
Q: What do I have to do?
If you employ Award covered staff, you need to check that their pay rates will meet the new Modern Award minimum rates from the first pay period on or after 1 July 2019. If you are not already paying enough to cover the increase, you will have to increase your employee pay rates.
Q: Is it just the base rate that changes?
No. Some allowances payable under the Modern Awards will also change as a consequence of this decision. Other allowances will increase by CPI. Further information about changes to allowances will be made available from FWO.
Q: What if I already pay above award?
The awards provide “safety net” conditions that underpin your individual contractual agreements with particular employees. So, if you already pay staff above the new Modern Award minimum wages, you may not need to increase their pay at this time.
Q: How are other agreements affected?
If you have other agreements in your practice (e.g. Individual Flexibility Agreements, Enterprise Agreements) you will need to ensure affected employees remain “better off overall” when compared to the new Modern Award minimum rates. Likewise, the high income threshold will also change in July 2019, so if you have issued anyone with a formal Guarantee of Annual Earnings under s.330 of the Fair Work Act, you will need to ensure that the guaranteed amount still exceeds the new high income threshold. Where other agreements are affected, you may wish to seek specific advice.
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