Shock analysis shows how difficult it is to get by on the minimum wage in Australia

A full-time minimum-wage worker is left with only $29 a week after essential expenses, while a family of four on the same wage is $24 short of what they need to make ends meet.

Shock analysis shows how difficult it is to get by on the minimum wage in Australia

Anglicare’s shocking new analysis on the cost of living facing the lowest-paid workers comes as the Fair Work Commission’s annual wage review has its final consultations on Wednesday.

Shortly before that, the latest wage price indices will be released, showing whether the central bank’s forecast of a wage increase has come true.

Australian Secretary to the Council of Trade Unions, Sally McManus, who will continue to push the union for a 5.5 percent pay rise at the hearing, said soaring inflation meant people were struggling more than she had ever seen.

“I hear story after story about essential frontline workers with rents going up $100 a week, people moving in caravans, people having to move into shared households,” she said.

“A disabled worker told me she had to get her children to subsidize her rent.”

Ms. McManus said she believed some companies were already paying the extra dollar per hour, representing a 5.5 percent raise in retail and hospitality. Hence, the argument that they couldn’t afford the raise was flawed.

The 5.5 percent increase would raise the minimum wage for adults from $20.33 to $21.45 per hour, $772.60 to $815.09 per week, and $40,175.20 to $42,384.84 per year.

Analysis by Anglicare shows that a person under 35 in a single household earning the current minimum wage has only $29 left at the end of the week after paying $401 for rent, $113 for transportation, and $135 for food and drink. I paid for drinks.

For two minimum-wage parents caring for two children, things are more complicated.

After $581 for rent, $338 for transportation, $361 for food and drink, and $122 for education, they are $24 short of what they need each week.

Camera icon someone who earns minimum wage and lives alone has only $29 left after essential expenses. Credit: News Regional Media

A single parent would be $195 short of what they need to care for one child and themselves.

“Our calculations suggest that minimum wage workers in single-person households are likely to be in severe financial stress with little or no savings buffer, while workers in coupled households are likely to be similarly stressed or financially dependent on a partner’s income,” Anglicare said in his report.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison appeared to change tactics after calling Anthony Albanese a “loose unit” for approving a 5.1 percent wage increase to keep up with inflation.

“Well, we’re in favor of pay increases,” he said when asked why he was concerned about a $1 per hour pay increase for low-paid workers.

“We think pay increases are good things, and we want those pay increases to happen and on a sustainable basis.

“And the best way to do that is to reduce unemployment, keep our economy growing and businesses succeed, enabling them to provide sustainable pay increases to workers in this country.”

Lori J. Kile
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