“The ACTU’s 3.5% claim in this year’s Annual Wage Review is reckless and incompatible with the current economic vulnerabilities and would put jobs at risk and worsen unemployment and underemployment,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.
“Australia has the highest minimum wage in the world (on a purchasing power parity basis) and the ACTU is out of touch and its response to the Wage Review is out of step with a need for caution over the uncertain year ahead.
“Ai Group will advise the Expert Panel of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) of its position on the potential quantum of any minimum wage increase at a later stage in the Review process given the economic and business risks associated with the end of JobKeeper on 28 March.
“Any decision on a minimum wage increase would need to take account of:
- The uncertain outlook for employment, economic growth and business insolvencies;
- The fact that some sectors have been extremely hard-hit by the pandemic and have not yet recovered to anything like pre-pandemic levels;
- The minimum wage increase from last year’s Annual Wage Review has only just been paid (on 1 February 2021) by employers in some sectors and it would be extremely unfair to require them to pay another increase on 1 July;
- Headline annual CPI is currently below 1% (i.e. 0.9%); and
- Unless legislation is introduced into, and passed by, Parliament before 1 July, employers will be required to pay a 0.5% superannuation guarantee increase on 1 July.
“The Fair Work Commission will make a decision in the case in June following several rounds of submissions and consultations with the Expert Panel,” Mr Willox said.