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Navigating the New Minimum Wage: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses

The foundU Team
June 19, 2024
9 Min Read

In Australia, the minimum wage ensures workers receive fair compensation for their labour. It plays a pivotal role in the economy, influencing everything from consumer spending to business operations. 

This guide will help your business understand upcoming minimum wage changes that occur each financial year and explain how your business can adapt to these changes to remain compliant and competitive.

Review our industry guide for more information on how foundU’s all-in-one workforce management platform can help your business.


What is Minimum Wage?

The minimum wage is the lowest rate of pay employers can offer their employees. Mandated by the Fair Work Act (2009), the minimum wage undergoes an annual review and adjustment. It aims to: 

  • Reduce poverty by providing a fair living wage for low-income workers.
  • Increase equality through the right to receive equal pay for performing work of equal value.

Ultimately, enshrining the minimum wage in employment law ensures that low-income workers receive a fair wage that supports a basic standard of living.

Find out how to outsource your payroll function or get additional administration support for your business. foundU payroll services are here to help.


What Are the New Minimum Wage Rates?

The Fair Work Commission sets the minimum wage rate each financial year. The minimum pay in Australia for 2023 is $23.23. For a standard 38-hour working week, this equates to $882.80.


The National Minimum Wage applies to adult workers not governed by a modern award or a registered agreement. 


How is the Minimum Wage Decided?

The Fair Work Commission considers economic performance data, inflation rates, labour market conditions, and stakeholder submissions when determining the minimum wage increase. 


An expert panel reviews the national minimum wage and modern award rates, balancing workers' needs against economic impacts such as employment, productivity, and business competitiveness.


Stakeholder submissions and consultations are from employers, employees, unions, and industry groups. The submission and consultation process ensures a diverse perspective that includes all interested parties.  


Following the expert panel decision, the Commission issues a National Minimum Wage Order. This approach by Fair Work provides a minimum wage that reflects the economic conditions of the time while supporting employees' living standards.


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What the Minimum Wage Increase Means for Small Businesses

A minimum wage increase presents challenges and opportunities for Australian small businesses. 


A significant challenge is Increased payroll costs, including other forms of compensation, such as penalty rates, overtime pay, allowances, and similar payments. Other employees' pay rates may also need to increase to maintain wage hierarchies. ,


This increase in payroll costs may necessitate price adjustments to cope with higher labour expenses. If prices are increased too much, this could decrease customer demand, adversely affecting business revenue.


On the other hand, there are several potential benefits. Higher wages can reduce employee turnover and improve employee productivity as employees feel more appreciated. Increased staff retention means saving costs on recruitment and training. 


In addition, better-paid workers spend more, potentially boosting consumer spending and benefiting local businesses and the economy in general. 


Overall, while the immediate challenge is the increased cost, the long-term effects include a more satisfied workforce and a stimulated economy.


What Should Your Business Do?

Your business can successfully adapt to new minimum wage rates by implementing several strategies:


Review Current Wages

Prepare for the  1st of July changes by reviewing employee wages to ensure they meet or exceed the new minimum wage requirements. Your review should include the wage rates of part-time, full-time, and casual employees.


Update Payroll Systems

Update your payroll systems to reflect the new minimum wage rates. This may involve upgrading software, updating software settings, and testing to ensure that all future payroll calculations comply with the latest rates. Ensure your payroll systems are ready before 1 July.


Budget for Increased Costs

Prepare and adjust your budget for the upcoming financial year to account for anticipated increased labour costs. Assess the impact of increased operating expenses and whether adjustments to pricing or staffing levels are required.


Communicate Changes to Your Staff

Communicate any changes to wage rates to your employees, explaining why the changes are happening and how they benefit from the changes.


Evaluate Staffing Needs

Assess your staffing needs and consider whether staffing adjustments are required to cover the increase in employee remuneration.


Seek Financial Advice

Consider consulting with a financial advisor to navigate the implications of the wage rate increases. An advisor can help your business explore and develop financial strategies to mitigate adverse effects.


Monitor Impact

Assess the effect of wage rate increases on your business operations and employee satisfaction regularly. Based on this ongoing assessment, be prepared to make further adjustments as needed.


Stay Informed

Ensure your business is proactive in keeping up-to-date with legislative changes concerning minimum wage and other employment laws.


How FoundU Helps Manage Compliance with Minimum Wage Changes

FoundU offers extensive features to assist with payroll management, including automated wage rate updates, compliance alerts, and reporting tools that simplify legal requirement adjustments. Our all-in-one workforce management system is built for STP Phase 2, so you can easily reconcile STP data with payroll, automate ATO reporting, and reduce your data administration burden.


Let foundU Help!

New minimum wage rates set by the Fair Work Commission can dramatically reshape the business landscape each financial year. While an increase can present challenges of increased costs to Australian small businesses, there are also potential opportunities to improve staff retention and improve employee productivity.


With some planning, you can prepare your business for an increase in the minimum wage. Preparation strategies include auditing employee wages, adjusting pricing models, and automating workflow processes for increased efficiencies. Most importantly, keep up-to-date with legislative changes. 


By taking the proactive steps outlined above, small businesses like yours can ensure compliance and harness the potential benefits of minimum wage changes. For additional support, leveraging tools like FoundU’s all-in-one workforce management platform can help your business easily navigate Australia’s fast-changing legislative environment.


Stay compliant and competitive with FoundU. Contact us today to see how our solutions can simplify your payroll and compliance needs. 


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