Everything you need to know about getting your award wage increase

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Use the UWU guide to getting your award wage increase (Photo: Unsplash)

This is how to get EVERY CENT you’re entitled to from the 2024 minimum and award wage increase.

On June 3, the Fair Work Commission announced a 3.75 per cent increase to minimum and award wages.

Unions are always fighting to increase wages. Workers everywhere continue to face enormous cost-of-living pressures and we should rightly demand our share of the enormous profits made by big business who are reliant on their workers.

United Workers Union members should be really proud of the role we played in this win. We took part in more than 10,000 different actions between March and June to push the Fair Work Commission for an increase that would keep wages ahead of inflation. Union members built Australia’s award wage system, and we’ll never stop fighting to make it better and fairer for all workers.

The new award wage rates commence on the first full pay cycle after 1 July 2024.

YOUR MODERN AWARD WAGE CHECKLIST 

 When modern award wages increase, there will be a number of things on your pay slip that should change.  

  1. Minimum hourly rate. This is the rate you receive for ordinary hours of work. The rate is based on your classification level in the award and increases when a wage rise is awarded.
  2. Overtime rates. Overtime rates are calculated based on your minimum hourly rate, so if your minimum hourly rate increases, your overtime rates will also increase.
  3. Penalty rates. Penalty rates are paid for working on nights and early mornings, weekends and public holidays. If your minimum hourly rate increases, your penalty rates will also increase.
  4. Allowances. Rates paid for allowances also increase when modern award wages increase.
  5. Superannuation. When award wages increase, employer contributions to your superannuation account should increase too. This is because the Superannuation Guarantee is calculated as a percentage of your ordinary time earnings. Note that the percentage rate that employers must contribute to your superannuation account increases to 11.5% on 1 July 2024 and 12% on 1 July 2025.
Your employer is required by law to keep accurate records of your pay and hours worked (Photo credit: Bigstock)

TIP: Check your pay slip carefully after an award wage increase to make sure that you are paid correctly on your minimum hourly rate, any overtime or penalty rates and super contributions. Also check your employer has paid your super by logging into your superannuation account. 

WAGE THEFT ALERT 

If you’re not being paid the correct rates, this could constitute wage theft. 

Wage theft is the underpayment or non-payment of wages to an employee. It may occur in a variety of ways, including: 

  • Paying hourly rates that are below the modern award minimum, an applicable enterprise agreement, or the national minimum wage 
  • Misclassifying workers on a lesser pay rate 
  • Failing to pay overtime or penalty rates, allowances or other loadings 
  • Making unlawful cash deductions from wages 
  • Enforcing illegal cash-back schemes 
  • Not receiving superannuation, or the wrong amount of superannuation 
  • Not accruing leave entitlements like personal/carer’s leave or annual leave 
  • Receiving a flat rate for all hours worked, which doesn’t properly compensate for other entitlements that would otherwise apply 
  • Not being paid for attending training at the direction of your employer 
  • Working excessive hours on a salary 

 

Wage theft will be a criminal offence from January 2025 (Photo: Shutterstock)

Wage theft is a serious problem and can have a significant impact on workers. It can make it difficult for you to make ends meet and save for your future which can lead to stress and anxiety.  

Union members have fought hard to expose wage theft across the workforce and have changed laws in some states. Unions were also instrumental in the reforms to the Closing Loopholes legislation that will come into effect in January 2025.

If you believe that you’ve had wages stolen, or notice discrepancies in your pay, here are some things you can do: 

  • Talk to your employer. 
  • Contact UWU, if you’re a union member. If you’re not an UWU member, join now and we can help with future issues. 
  • Make a complaint to the state-based wage theft bodies in Victoria and Queensland. 
  • You can also contact the Fair Work Ombudsman. 

 TIP: By law, you have up to six years to win back stolen wages from current and previous employers. UWU can help you with your claim, even if you don’t have access to your pay records. 


Download your FREE copy of UWU's Expert Guide To Award Wages.

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