Thursday, 6 June 2013
Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013; Consideration in Detail
by leave—I move amendments (1) and (2) on sheet 9 as circulated in my name together:.
(1) Clause 2, page 2 (after table item 10), insert:
(2) Page 29 (after line 14), after Schedule 5, insert:
Schedule 5A—Increases to compulsory superannuation not to affect minimum wage reviews or orders
Fair Work Act 2009
1 At the end of section 285
(4) In exercising its power in an annual wage review:
(a) to make determinations referred to in paragraph (2)(b); and
(b) to make a national minimum wage order;
the FWC must disregard any increase in relevant superannuation contributions that takes effect after this subsection commences.
(5) Relevant superannuation contributions are contributions to a superannuation fund made by an employer to the extent that one or more of the following applies:
(a) the employer would have been liable to pay superannuation guarantee charge under the Superannuation Guarantee Charge Act 1992 in relation to the person if the amounts had not been so contributed;
(b) the employer is required to contribute to the fund for the employee's benefit in relation to a defined benefit interest (within the meaning of section 292-175 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997) of the employee;
(c) the employer is required to contribute to the fund for the employee's benefit under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory.
As we have seen recently, when the Fair Work Commission assesses the minimum wage it takes into account potential superannuation rises for employees. This amendment would have the effect of saying that would not be taken into account for future increases to the minimum wage. I accept that for wages above the minimum wage it may be appropriate to consider whether to trade off future superannuation increases against wage increases. But for those who are on the minimum wage, when the minimum wage is so low, that trade-off should not be made because they are probably going to retire on the pension and not be reliant on their superannuation in the same way as others. So they need a wage increase now and that should be taken into account by the Fair Work Commission.