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Australia minimum wage to rise 2.5% as economy rebounds from COVID-19

·1 min read

By Colin Packham

CANBERRA, June 16 (Reuters) - Australia's minimum wage will rise by 2.5% for the financial year starting in July, a faster pace than this year, which the country's independent wage-setting body said reflected its strong economic recovery from the coronavirus-induced recession.

The lowest paid employees will now receive A$20.33 ($15.65) an hour, totalling A$772.60 per week for full-time workers.

The Fair Work Commission had set a rise of 1.75% for the current year ending on June 30, and its President Iain Ross said on Wednesday the new minimum wage level comes as the economy rebounded from its first recession in nearly three decades due to COVID-19 restrictions.

"There was a broad consensus in the submissions before us that the current performance of the economy has exceeded expectations and that the economic recovery is well underway," Ross said in an emailed statement.

The commission's minimum wage levels are now legally enforceable in Australia.

However, the wage rise will be delayed for some workers in sectors still reeling from COVID-19.

Those working in retail will receive the increase from Sept. 1, while employees in aviation, fitness, tourism and parts of retail and events sectors will receive a wage increase from Nov. 1, the Fair Work Commission said.

Trade unionists, who wanted a increase of more than 3%, criticised the delay.

"It is extremely disappointing that the commission has delayed increases for any workers – but especially those who have worked throughout the pandemic and whose employers have posted record profits," said Sally McManus, secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. ($1 = 1.2989 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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