A number of modern awards will have the minimum wages contained within them increased by 2.5% as of 1 November 2021, with employers covered by the awards having to comply with the increases on their first full pay period which falls on or after 1 November 2021.

The awards covered by the increase relate to employers in industries deemed to be the most adversely affected by COVID-19 including tourism and hospitality (other industries were subject to increases on either 1 July 2021 or 1 September 2021).


Which awards will have rates increased on 1 November 2021?

The full list of awards subject to the 1 November 2021 increases are as follows:

  • Pilots Award
  • Cabin Crew Award
  • Airline Ground Staff Award
  • Airport Award
  • Alpine Resorts Award
  • Amusement Award
  • Dry Cleaning and Laundry Award
  • Fitness Award
  • Hair and Beauty Award
  • Hospitality Award
  • Live Performance Award
  • Models Award
  • Marine Tourism and Charter Vessels Award
  • Nursery Award
  • Racing Clubs Events Award
  • Racing Ground Maintenance Award
  • Registered Clubs Award
  • Restaurant Award
  • Sporting Organisations Award
  • Traveling Shows Award
  • Wine Award


What about employers covered by enterprise agreements?

The Fair Work Act 2009 operates so that the base rate of pay under an enterprise cannot fall below the base rate of pay in the modern award that would apply to an employee if they were not covered by the enterprise agreement (subject to the enterprise agreement having more beneficial terms on wage increases). This means that for any business that operates under an enterprise agreement, it is important that they are aware of which modern awards underpin their agreement, and that they determine whether the 2.5% award increases mean that the award rate has overtaken the enterprise agreement rate. If it has, then the award rate must be paid instead.


We’re already paying above the award rate. Do we need to increase rates of pay?

Minimum rates in modern awards are exactly that, minimum rates. If you are already paying “above award” rates there will be no need to increase rates, unless of course, the increase will mean that the new award rates overtake what you are currently paying.


Need further help?

The increase to award rates on 1 November 2021 is a useful reminder to employers to review current pay rates to ensure employees are being paid compliantly. If you need further help on any of the matters raised in this article please contact EI Legal.