Fortnightly minimum wage rule eases the pain

Changes to the minimum wage

“Good morning Pebbles,” Freddy says, pleased to see Pebbles as he processes the week’s wages for his farm workers. 

“Hi Dad,” says Pebbles, “what are you up to?”

“Pebbles, I am glad you are here.  It’s these wage calculations that I’m doing for my farm staff and I want to make sure that I get it right so I don’t fall fowl of the minimum wage requirements!  I remember your last advice Pebbles, about a recent Court decision that says that employees must be paid at least the minimum wage (of $14.25 per hour) for every hour that an employee works,” says Freddy. 

“And also employers cannot average out wage payments over periods of time to reflect busier and quieter periods,” reminds Pebbles.   

“Yes that rule is very frustrating,” Freddy complains.  “Most dairy farmers have tended to average out wage payments over long periods of time in the past, and there needs to be something more practical that reflects typical farming practices,” continues Freddy. 

“Well Dad, I have got some great news,” Pebbles interrupts.  “The Government has changed the minimum wage rules to include a fortnightly minimum wage rate,” says Pebbles. 

“What does that mean?” asks Freddy.

“This means that farm staff wages can be calculated over a fortnightly period and this will allow you to average wages fortnightly.  This means that farm staff must be paid at least a total of $1,140 gross per fortnight plus the minimum hourly rate of $14.25 gross per hour for every hour worked above 80 hours per fortnight,” Pebbles explains. 

“Hopefully this will provide more flexibility for you Dad, and also for your farm workers” Pebbles says. 

“Thanks for the update Pebbles,” says Freddy.  “While I don’t think that the change goes far enough to fully take into account seasonal fluctuations, it should hopefully make my life a little easier.  When does the change take effect?” asks Freddy. 

“The change comes into force very soon on 26 June 2014.  From that date you will be able to assess wages on a fortnightly period in the way that I have explained.” says Pebbles. 

 “Excellent, now all this talk of wages has worked up an appetite and you are just in time for some of your mother’s chocolate muffins.” says Freddy. 

“I thought you would never ask.” says Pebbles with a smile. 


The content of this document is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this document. 

If you would like more information on any of the topics in this document, please contact your usual Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen adviser. 



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Philip McCarthy