Minimum wages

Find our fact sheet on maximum weekly hours an employee can work under the National Employment Standards.


A minimum wage is an employee’s base rate of pay for ordinary hours worked. It is generally dependent on the industrial instrument that applies to their employment. For example, a modern award or registered agreement.

Employees cannot be paid less than their applicable minimum wage, even if they agree to it.

Download the fact sheet:

Who determines minimum wages?

Every year, the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) Expert Panels review the minimum wages received by employees in the national workplace relations system.

The review considers:

  • written submissions from interested organisations and individuals
  • consultations before the Expert Panels
  • research commissioned by the Expert Panels.

At the conclusion of this review, a National Minimum Wage Order is made which will apply from the first full pay period on or after 1 July each year.

What is a National Minimum Wage Order?

A National Minimum Wage Order outlines the minimum wage for award and agreement-free employees.

The National Minimum Wage Order must set the following wages for award or agreement-free employees:

  • a National Minimum Wage for adults
  • a special National Minimum Wage for:
    • trainees, apprentices and junior employees
    • employees to whom training arrangements apply
    • employees with a disability
  • a casual loading.

For more information about the Annual Wage Review process and the National Minimum Wage Order, visit Fair Work Commission - Annual wage reviews.

What is the current national minimum wage?

The National Minimum Wage is $23.23 per hour or $882.80 per 38 hour week (before tax).

Casual employees covered by the National Minimum Wage also get at least a 25% casual loading.

For award and agreement-free employees, the percentage scale in the Miscellaneous Award is applied to the National Minimum Wage.

Employees covered by a modern award

Most employees in the national workplace system are covered by a modern award. These contain the minimum wage, as well as other terms and conditions, for employees in particular industries and occupations.

Some awards can have transitional arrangements as determined by the FWC. Employers and employees should check their relevant modern award(s) to determine if transitional arrangements apply.

Minimum wages under modern awards may include:

  • wages rates for adults, in some cases, at different rates according to experience and qualifications
  • wage rates for juniors, employees with a disability, and employees to whom training arrangements apply
  • casual loadings
  • piece rates.

For further information on modern awards, go to our Modern awards fact sheet.

To find out the minimum wage under a modern award, you can use our Pay and Conditions Tool.

Award wages less than the National Minimum Wage

As a result of the 2023 Annual Wage Review decision, some minimum award wages may now be less than the National Minimum Wage. For example, some awards contain introductory pay rates for new employees in their industry. These rates generally apply for a limited time until an employee progresses to the new level. If an employee is covered by an award or agreement, the National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply.

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