Australia’s lowest-paid workers are to get a $13 a week pay rise.

This means the national minimum wage will rise by 1.75 per cent to $753.80 a week or $19.84 per hour from July 1, the Fair Work Commission announced on Friday.

The rise falls well short of the 3 per cent increase to the minimum wage in 2019.

Commission president Justice Iain Ross said it came amid a significant downturn in Australia’s economy, driven by the coronavirus.

“The shock to the labour market has been unprecedented,” he said in a recorded message released on Friday morning.

There were also significant downside risks to the economy ahead, he said, including the potential threat of a second wave of coronavirus infections.

“The outlook, including the nature and speed of the expected recovery, remains highly uncertain,” he said.

Peak union body the ACTU had pushed for what is called a “modest” 4 per cent rise this year.

Business groups had argued the minimum wage should be frozen until mid-2021 because, they said, that would enable people affected by the coronavirus-driven downturn to find jobs.

The commission’s decision directly affects 2.24 million low-paid workers and indirectly affects many more.

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter had opposed any substantial increase to what is already the world’s highest minimum wage.


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