New report finds almost half of workers in Sydney ‘in the dark’ on minimum wage
Labor has published a new report into the hidden costs of a national minimum wage of $14.60 an hour.
Key points:The report found the cost to workers of not working for a living is $8.6bn a yearThe report recommends a national living wage of at least $25 an hourThe report also recommended a national universal living wageSource: The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)Key points :Almost half of Australian workers have not worked for a job for more than a yearMost of those who have worked for less than two years had their income reduced by more than 20 per centSome workers have seen their earnings cut by more as their skills have improvedSome workers say they are being penalised because they are working too much or too littleFor the first time in Australia, the ABS has produced a comprehensive analysis of the hidden cost of the national living and working wage laws.
“A basic understanding of the cost of living in Australia is essential for the health and wellbeing of our workforce,” the report states.
“It is also essential for businesses to understand the extent to which they can adapt to the costs of the minimum wage and ensure their workers are not disadvantaged.”
The report, entitled Living at the margins: The hidden costs, was commissioned by the Australian Workers Union (AWU) and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) on behalf of the AFL-CIO.
It was released in a report entitled “Wages and conditions at the edge: The living and work of Australia’s workers” on Monday.
Key point:Almost half the Australian workforce have not been working for more for a yearMore than half of those working in Sydney had their wages reduced by at least 20 per per cent.
Some workers who have not gone through the mandatory work experience programs have seen a reduction of at most five per cent because of the costs.
The report finds that workers who are working on a temporary or casual basis are also often paying into a small pool of pension funds that is unable to meet the full costs of their labour.
“For many of these workers, the cost is borne by their own employers, not by the government,” the ABC report states, quoting a report from the Australian Institute of Labor and Employment.
“The fact that these workers are living in a ‘living hell’ is also often a barrier to them finding a permanent, sustainable employment.”
“The Australian minimum wage is a living hell for many of our workers, and they can’t get by on it.”
The study found that workers’ average wage is about $24,000 a year, which is higher than the $23,000 that the ABS currently estimates that many workers earn in a year.
“Some workers may be paid as little as $2,000 in wages and allowances per fortnight, and this may have a significant impact on their earning power,” the ABS report states.
“The average minimum wage in Sydney is $24.50, while a Melbourne worker is paid $27,000.
In the ACTU’s report, a worker in Sydney earns $24 a week.”
We have heard from some workers who work for the city’s biggest employers who have seen wages cut by up to 20 per, and up to 50 per cent, since the minimum wages were introduced,” ACTU national secretary Greg Wilson said.”
Many workers will see their wages cut at least as much as 20 per to 30 per cent.
“He said the costs were particularly high for workers in low-income jobs.”
There’s no doubt that people are paying more for the services they’re providing to people in low income situations,” he said.
The Australian Greens have said it is time for the Labor government to take a national approach to the minimum and living wage laws, particularly for workers who need support to stay afloat.”
Labor is right to take action to protect the vulnerable and to tackle the hidden tax burdens that make it difficult for workers to get by,” said Greens spokesperson for housing and social housing Natalie McGowan.”
As the ACT and the ACTUTU report make clear, we need to put an end to the living hell that the minimum living wage puts on working families.””
We must support our growing workforce by getting a fair living wage, and the current living wage is an injustice that should be repealed.