An estimated 2.3 million workers are on minimum wage.
An estimated 2.3 million workers are on minimum wage.

2.3 million workers to get pay rise

AUSTRALIA'S lowest paid workers will receive a 3.5 per cent pay increase.

From July 1, the national minimum wage will increase by $24.30 per week to $719.20, or $18.93 an hour, the Fair Work Commission has ruled in its 2017-18 Annual Wage Review. The current national minimum wage is $18.29 per hour or $694.90 per 38-hour week.

The casual loading will remain at 25 per cent. An estimated 2.3 million workers are on the minimum wage, or about 22.7 per cent of all employees.

"The panel's decision will also affect employees paid close to the national minimum wage rate and modern award rates and whose pay is set by a collective agreement which is linked to the outcome of the review," the commission said in its decision.

"The assessment of the needs of the low paid requires an examination of the extent to which low-paid workers are able to purchase the essentials for a decent standard of living and to engage in community life, assessed in the context of contemporary norms. The risk of poverty is also relevant in addressing the needs of the low paid."

The Australian Council of Trade Unions had been pushing for a $50 a week rise to $744.90, equivalent to 7.2 per cent.

More to come.