Preparing for 1 July 2019 – Increases to wages and remuneration

30 May 2019

20 June 2019 – Correction to article in footnote 5

Annual Wage Review Decision

On 30 May 2019, the Fair Work Commission handed down its 2019 Annual Wage Review Decision. The key elements of the decision are:

  • the national minimum wage will increase by 3% from $18.93 to $19.49 per hour1; and
  • a 3% increase to full-time minimum wage rates in modern awards.

Allowances will be increased in line with the formulas in awards.

These increases are operative from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 20192. If you are already paying an employee above the new minimum rate for their classification in the applicable award, you are not required to adjust those rates unless you have agreed otherwise.

Wage outcomes and trends

The national wage price index (WPI) shows that rates of pay (excluding bonuses) for all wage and salary workers across all industries in the private sector increased by 0.5% in the March 2019 quarter and 2.3% in the year to March in trend terms.3

Data on enterprise agreement wage outcomes for the December 2018 quarter4, shows an average annual wage increase of 3.0% for private sector agreements and 2.7% for public sector agreements.

High income threshold

The high income threshold, which limits an employee’s eligibility to pursue an unfair dismissal claim (unless they are award or agreement covered), will also increase from $145,400 to $148,700 for dismissals that take effect from 1 July 2019.

The same figure is used for guarantees of annual earnings. An employer may provide such a guarantee to an employee whose earnings exceed this amount and the effect is that an award which would otherwise apply to that employee does not apply. However, that employee remains covered by the award for the purposes of the unfair dismissal provisions.

The maximum compensation which can be awarded for unfair dismissal, which the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) stipulates is six months’ pay (capped at half the high income threshold) will also rise from 1 July 2019 from $72,700 to $74,350.

It is important to remember that high income earners still have access to other avenues to challenge a dismissal including the general protections provisions in the FW Act, anti-discrimination legislation and the common law – eg breach of contract claims.

Other threshold changes

Tax Free Threshold for Genuine Redundancy5 – base amount and service amount

There are automatic tax free amounts calculated according to a formula which specifies:

  1. a base amount; and
  2. an additional amount multiplied by years of completed service.
Income Year Base Amount Service Amount
2019-20 $10,638 $5,320
2019-20 $10,399 $5,200

ETP cap

The ETP cap threshold will increase to $210,000 from 1 July 2019. The whole of income cap remains at $180,000 as this is a non-indexed figure.

Maximum quarterly superannuation contribution base

In accordance with section 9 of the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act (1992), the maximum quarterly superannuation contribution base is indexed in line with AWOTE each income year. The new indexed amount is generally available each February.

Income year Per quarter
2019-20 $55,270
2018-19 $54,030

If you have any questions about how any of the above impacts your business or you would like assistance with your remuneration and/or enterprise bargaining strategy, please contact a member of our Workplace Relations Team.

1 $740.80 per week for a full-time employee working 38 hours per week.
2 The new rates and allowances payable under each award are expected to be published on the Fair Work Commission website shortly.
3 Source: ABS, Wage Price Index, Australia, Cat no 6345.0, (Mar 2019). More information is available at
4 The full report can be accessed at
5 Only applicable if employee is under age of 65


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