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  1. This circular is to inform Australian Government agencies of changes to the minimum wage, specifically in regards to Australian Public Service Award 2015, the Australian Government Industry Award 2016 and other enterprise awards covering Australian Government employment.
  2.  The Fair Work Commission (FWC) made the National Minimum Wage Order 2020 (the Order) on 19 June 2020 which will be implemented from July 2020 to February 2021.
  3. The Order increases minimum wages, including minimum award rates, by 1.75%.
  4.  The FWC has categorised awards into groups depending on the extent to which the industries they cover have been affected by the economic impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These groups will then have the increase in minimum rates applied at different times to reduce the compounding effect of COVID-19.
  5. Group 1 awards cover frontline and essential worker industries. The minimum wage decision increase will apply to these awards from 1 July 2020.  Awards covering Australian Government employment in this group are the Australian Federal Police Enterprise Award 2016, Christmas Island Administration Enterprise Award 2016 and Reserve Bank of Australia Award 2016.
  6. Group 2 awards make up the bulk of industries and will have the rate increased from 1 November 2020. This includes salary and allowance increases in the Australian Public Service Award 2015 and the Australian Government Industry Award 2016.  The two awards cover the Australian Public Service and much of the non-APS Australian Government employment sector.
  7. Group 2 also includes the Australia Post Enterprise Award 2015, Australian Broadcasting Corporation Enterprise Award 2016, Australian Bureau of Statistics (Interviewers) Enterprise Award 2016, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) Enterprise Award 2016, CSIRO Enterprise Award 2016, and Note Printing Australia Award 2016.
  8. Group 3 awards cover industries which have been the most dramatically impacted by COVID-19 and will see the minimum rate increase on 1 February 2021. The Airservices Australia Enterprise Award 2016 is the only award covering Australian Government employment in this group.

Actions agencies need to take

  1. The base rate of pay for an employee must not be less than the base rate of pay payable under the award which covers that employee.

  2. For existing industrial instruments, agencies should ensure that employees are being paid at least the new award minimum pay rates. As an example, the minimum hourly pay rate for an APS Level 1 employee will increase from $22.22 to $22.61 on 1 November 2020.
  3. Agencies should also be aware that this adjustment will also flow through to employees engaged through the Supported Wage System. The Awards will be updated accordingly.
  4.  Agencies in bargaining or planning for bargaining should also assess whether these changes have an impact on the ‘better off overall test’ for proposed new enterprise agreements.

Further information and advice

For further information, please contact the Australian Public Service Commission at workplacerelations [at] apsc.gov.au or your agency’s relationship manager.


Last reviewed: 
26 June 2020