A Guide to the Australian Minimum Wage for Employers in 2024

A Guide to the Australian Minimum Wage for Employers in 2024
Whether you're hiring your first employee or scaling your workforce, here's what you need to know about minimum wage rates in Australia.
by Square Jun 25, 2024 — 3 min read
A Guide to the Australian Minimum Wage for Employers in 2024

This article is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.

To help set your business up for success, it’s vital that business owners are aware of and compliant with all their statutory obligations with regard to the payment of wages. Currently, the Fair Work Commission, an independent body, sets the minimum wage. It operates under the Fair Work Act 2009. While there’s no indication that this arrangement is likely to change in the short or medium term, it’s worth noting that if the federal legislation is altered or replaced, the manner in which the minimum wage is set and enforced could also change.

What is the minimum wage in Australia?

From 1 July 2024, the minimum wage is $24.10 per hour, or $915.90 per 38-hour week. This is a 3.75% increase in the national minimum wage. This increase applies from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2024.

You can learn more about the increase here.

Minimum award increases for Australian employers

Awards outline the minimum entitlements for wages and conditions of employment. They usually relate to a specific industry or occupation.

In some instances, employees aren’t covered by an award or enterprise agreement, in which case a national minimum wage order safeguards against exploitative arrangements.

Awards cover things such as minimum wage rates, annual leave, hours of work, penalty rates, allowances and other minimum conditions.

The Commission announced that minimum award wages will increase by 3.75% as of 1 July 2024. This means if your weekly pay period starts on Wednesday, the new rates will apply from Wednesday, 3 July 2024.

A full list of awards can be found here.

Penalty rates explained

Penalty rates are the legal requirement for employers to pay their employees a higher pay rate when working weekends, public holidays, overtime, late night or early morning shifts. Make sure to check what penalty rates apply for your employees’ awards here.

The Fair Work Pay Calculator

The Fair Work Pay Calculator is an online tool that allows employers and employees to work out base pay rates, allowances and penalty rates.

The step-by-step questionnaire helps employers and employees establish which award is relevant to their circumstances.

Who sets the minimum wage in Australia?

Since 2010, the minimum wage has been set by the Fair Work Commission’s Expert Panel. Each year, it reviews the current minimum wage and issues a decision, which comes into effect on 1 July of the following financial year.

Seven people sit on the Expert Panel: a President, three other full-time members and three part-time members. They’re experts in workplace relations, economics, social policy and commerce.

Under the Fair Work Act 2009, the Expert Panel is required to publish all written submissions from interested individuals or organisations. The Expert Panel then makes comments on these submissions. The Act also demands that the research conducted by the Expert Panel be published, which ensures transparency and allows for submissions to be made based on the research.

Australian minimum wage rates since 2007

Commencement date Per hour Per 38-hour week
1 October 2007 $13.74 $522.12
1 October 2008 $14.31 $543.78
1 July 2009 Unchanged Unchanged
1 July 2010 $15.00 $569.90
1 July 2011 $15.51 $589.30
1 July 2012 $15.96 $606.40
1 July 2013 $16.37 $622.20
1 July 2014 $16.87 $640.90
1 July 2015 $17.29 $656.90
1 July 2016 $17.70 $672.70
1 July 2017 $18.29 $694.90
1 July 2018 $18.93 $719.20
1 July 2019 $19.49 $740.80
1 July 2020 $19.84 $753.80
1 July 2021 $20.33 $772.60
1 July 2022 $21.38 $812.44
1 July 2023 $23.23 $882.80
1 July 2024 $24.10 $915.90

Minimum wage for juniors

In Australia, a junior employee is any employee under the age of 21. The minimum wage for junior employees is different depending on their age and is determined as a percentage of the national minimum wage, depending on the industry they’re working in.

The idea is that junior employees have the opportunity to enter the job market with a competitive advantage over adults who have to be paid a higher wage. It also allows employers to reduce their staffing costs.

For instance, under the General Retail Industry Award 2020, from the first pay period commencing on or after 1 July 2015, junior employees are paid at the following percentage of the appropriate wage rate:

Age Percentage
Under 16 45%
16 50%
17 60%
18 70%
19 80%
20, employed by the employer for 6 months or less 90%
20, employed by the employer for more than 6 months 100%

For example, Carly is 17 years old and works in a shop. She’s entitled to 60% of the adult pay rate under her award. She turns 18 on 22 March. From 22 March, she’s entitled to 70% of the adult pay rate. You can calculate junior employee pay rates for specific industries using the Fair Work Ombudsman Pay Calculator.

Minimum wage for apprentices

The pay rate for apprentices, as well as their entitlements, such as sick leave, annual leave and allocated breaks, are outlined in the relevant award and registered agreement.

The rate of pay varies slightly across industries, depending on the nature of the work and risk involved and the age of the apprentice.

Apprenticeships are tiered and apprentices move up to the next level by either working for a certain amount of time or demonstrating their competency. As they move up, their rate of pay increases.

In terms of apprentice wages, the most important thing is that employers ensure they are operating in accordance with the conditions stipulated in the relevant award.

Use the Fair Work Ombudsman Pay Calculator to determine the exact rate for a specific apprenticeship.


Employers are obliged to pay a minimum 11% superannuation contribution to their employees based on their ordinary time earnings and who are 18 years old or older, or are under 18 and work more than 30 hours a week – but this is scheduled to increase progressively to 12% by 2025.

This is applicable to full-time, part-time and casual employees.

If employers are unsure about their superannuation obligations, they should contact the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on 13 72 26 or visit their website.

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