The ACTU has resisted employer arguments to delay any rise in minimum pay, while it has accepted that the annual wage review timetable should be amended to enable the expert panel to consider national accounts data that is likely to identify the early economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The "exceptional circumstances" created by COVID-19 warrant delaying the operative date of any minimum wage increase by a fortnight to July 15, according to the Ai Group, while the Victorian Government is calling for a rise of at least 3%.
Bargained wage rises in the private sector dropped to 2.7% a year in the September quarter, according to newly-released Attorney-General's Department data that also shows some large retail employers are starting to tie increases to the FWC's annual review.
An FWC-commissioned study probing the characteristics of low-paid award-reliant workers and their propensity to move to a better paying job has suggested that policymakers need to focus on helping older, less-educated employees to obtain higher incomes.
Workers' wages will continue to grow at about 2.2%, similar to the current WPI, partly because the forthcoming 0.5 percentage point rise in compulsory super payments will be mostly funded by forgone pay rises, according to the RBA.
The Federal Opposition will tell the FWC in a submission today that it no longer has confidence that the minimum wage framework can provide the increases needed by the lowest paid and that its "periodic assessments" to examine the minimum wage relative to the median wage have failed to deliver.