National Minimum Wage Increase – How Does It Affect Your Practice?

At the start of the month, the Fair Work Commission (“FWC”) announced a 3% increase to the minimum wage in Australia, which is set to come into effect as of 1 July 2019.

The 3% increase equates to a $21.60 weekly rise for employees earning the National Minimum Wage (“NMW”), bringing their total to a $740.80 a week. More relevantly for medical practice managers, is the 3% increase to the minimum wage rates listed in the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010 (“Award”).

What Does the 3% Increase Look Like?

When the 3% increase is applied to the minimum wage rates in the Award for support services employees (which include, among other positions, receptionists, cleaners, pathology collectors/technicians, medical imaging administrators), you can expect to see the following increases to weekly and hourly rates:

Support
Services
Employees
Award Classification Level Current Weekly Rate ($) New Weekly Rate ($) Current Hourly Rate ($) New Hourly Rate ($)
Level 1 764.7 787.64 20.12 20.73
Level 2 796.3 820.19 20.96 21.58
Level 3 827.6 852.43 21.78 22.43
Level 4 837.4 862.52 22.04 22.70
Level 5 865.7 891.67 22.78 23.47
Level 6 912.4 939.77 24.01 24.73
Level 7 928.8 956.66 24.44 25.18
Level 8
Pay point 1 960.3 989.11 25.27 26.03
Pay point 2 985.5 1015.07 25.93 26.71
Pay point 3 1054.9 1086.55 27.76 28.59
Level 9
Pay point 1 1073.6 1105.81 28.25 29.10
Pay point 2 1111.8 1145.15 29.26 30.14
Pay point 3 1120.6 1154.22 29.49 30.37

Do I Have to Increase the Wages I Pay Employees by 3%?

The answer to this question depends on whether:

  • You pay your employees at the National Minimum Wage or relevant Award rate;
  • You are currently paying employees above the NMW or relevant Award rate; or
  • Your employees are covered by an enterprise agreement.

I pay my employees at the NMW or relevant award rate

If you pay your employees at the NMW or relevant Award rate of pay, you will need to apply the 3% increase in the first full pay period commencing on or after 1 July 2019

I Currently pay my employees above the NMW or relevant Award rate

 If you currently pay your employees above the NMW or relevant Award rate, you are not obliged to increase employees’ rates of pay. However, you must ensure their current pay rates remain above either the National Minimum Wage or relevant Award rate, once the 3% increase is applied.

My employees are covered by an enterprise agreement

Finally, if your employees are covered by an enterprise agreement and you pay them in accordance with such enterprise agreement, you must ensure the base rates set out in the enterprise agreement remain at least equal to the new minimum Award rates.

Does the 3% Increase Apply to Doctors and Nurses?

Yes, the 3% increase will apply to the wages of doctors and nurses employed (as opposed to being contracted) by your medical practice, if they are covered by either the:

  • Nurses Award 2010; or
  • Medical Practitioners Award 2010

Doctors’ and nurses’ wages and entitlements are difficult to decipher under the two above awards due to the plethora of variables that need to be considered and are, therefore, often better dealt with under employment contracts. If you would like assistance with employment contractors or further assistance in understanding the awards, please get into contact with me using the details below.

Need Specialist Help?

Managing a medical practice can be difficult enough without having to keep track of various wage increases or changes to employees’ entitlements. The best way to manage all of these competing priorities is to understand how each of them can impact your medical practice and to take proactive measures to ensure you are compliant! We can assist you in gaining this understanding and taking a proactive approach to your HR obligations through tailored advice, training programs, and providing comprehensive information packs.

For specialist assistance, please contact Matt Bullas on 0408 443 536 or matt@workplacewizards.com.au

Mark Ritchie

Mark Ritchie

Mark is passionate about helping Australian businesses efficiently resolve their industrial relations issues. Mark has demonstrated proficiency advising managers, executives and boards of small to medium-sized enterprises, as well as some of Australia’s best-known companies, on both litigious and non-litigious matters.

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