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Wage and super rises combined seen as SME blow

NatRoad also points to lack of deferral of trucking awards


While the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) charges that the latest wages determination will place an unreasonably heavy financial burden on small business.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) relating to the Annual Wage Review 2020-21 sees The National Minimum Wage will increase by 2.5 per cent to $772.60 per week or $20.33 per hour, effective from the first full pay period on or after July 1.

Modern award wages will increase by 2.5 per cent, deferred to November 1, due to “continuing exceptional circumstances”. But the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2020 and the Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award 2020 are not included in the deferral.

NatRoad believes that, though the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) call for a 3.5 per cent rise was rejected, the lower rate coinciding with a superannuation rise is “a big hit to small businesses” and goes too far.

Read the Hays take on T&L salary expectations, here

“NatRoad has been calling for a cautious approach to wage increases, given the uncertainties in the domestic and international economic outlook,” NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says.

“The impact of this wage increase on employers should not be underestimated, especially with small businesses’ limited capacity to pass on price increases in the road transport industry.

“The extent of the increase is likely to poorly affect the number of people in work and reduce the number of hours offered by employers, especially to young people. This industry wants to attract younger workers, but this increase will have the opposite effect.

“The road transport industry is an industry where margins are tight and contract price rises are suppressed.

“A number of members will therefore struggle to meet the increased wage bill imposed by this decision which is based on a rosy economic outlook.”

The Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) highlights that its members receive amendments once the Awards are formally amended by the FWC.

“Members who have workplace agreements in place will need to ensure that their agreement rates meet, or exceed, the new minimum award rates and, if the agreement pay increases are linked to the panel’s decision, the pay rates will need to be adjusted within the workplace agreement accordingly,” the QTA says.

“The increases can be absorbed into any amounts now being paid over and above the relevant minimum rates. ” 

The QTA warns its member to “be aware the Fair Work Ombudsman makes it clear that over award pay-rates can NOT off-set other award entitlements (e.g. penalties or loadings) unless there is a formal agreement in place. 

“Rates for juniors, trainees and apprentices will also be adjusted, as usual, on a proportionate basis.”


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