Back in June last year the Fair Work Commission announced that the minimum wages under Modern Awards would increase by 1.75%.


What’s different this year?

However, unlike most years where the increases take effect on 1 July, this year would work slightly differently because of the impact of COVID-19 on the economy. This time around, the Awards were separated into 3 groups, with the group allocation being dependent on the perceived impact COVID had on that industry. Each Award group had a different effective date for the wage increases, with 1 July 2020 for industries least affected by COVID and 1 November 2020 for those moderately affected.


Group 3 industry coverage

The final group of Awards – those covering industries most affected by COVID – are set to increase effective from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 February 2021. The Awards that fall into this group are from the following industries:

  • Retail,
  • Tourism,
  • Aviation,
  • Arts and Recreation,
  • Accommodation and Food Service.


Group 3 modern award coverage

A full list of Awards that will have rates increased as of 1 February 2021 are as follows:

  • Air Pilots Award,
  • Aircraft Cabin Crew Award,
  • Airline Operations-Ground Staff Award,
  • Airport Employees Award,
  • Alpine Resorts Award,
  • Amusement, Events and Recreation Award,
  • Commercial Sales Award,
  • Dry Cleaning and Laundry Industry Award,
  • Fast Food Industry Award,
  • Fitness Industry Award,
  • General Retail Industry Award,
  • Hair and Beauty Industry Award,
  • Horse and Greyhound Training Award,
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award,
  • Live Performance Award,
  • Mannequins and Models Award,
  • Marine Tourism and Charter Vessels Award,
  • Nursery Award,
  • Professional Diving Industry (Recreational) Award,
  • Racing Clubs Events Award,
  • Racing Industry Ground Maintenance Award,
  • Registered and Licensed Clubs Award,
  • Restaurant Industry Award,
  • Sporting Organisations Award,
  • Travelling Shows Award,
  • Vehicle Repair, Services and Retail Award,
  • Wine Industry Award.


You can read the Commission’s determination here.


What does this mean for me?

Employers covered by any one of the Awards listed above should make sure that the wages they pay their staff will be sufficient to meet the increased minimum pay rates as of the first full pay period on or after 1 February 2021 and make any necessary pay increases to avoid an underpayment.

If employers already pay above the Award-rate it may be that they do not need to make any increase, there is no obligation to pass the 1.75% pay increase on to employees if they will still be paid above the minimum wage without any pay increase.

Businesses who have an enterprise agreement in place which is underpinned by one of the Awards listed above should also be aware that they are obliged to match the applicable base rates set out in the Awards.

If you require any assistance in determining which Awards apply to your business and what you should be paying your staff to meet all your obligations, please contact Employment Innovations.

About Employment Innovations

Employment Innovations is one of Australia’s leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, payroll solutions, migration, human resource management and HR software.



The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.