How the 2016 Australian Minimum Wage Stacks Up

When Donald Horne famously described Australia as the ‘Lucky Country’ back in 1964, the phrase went on to become one of the nation’s proudest monikers. This is despite that fact that originally, Horne’s intentions were ironic. But his tongue in cheek jab hasn’t deterred the nation’s reputation for luck. From history and economy to weather and lifestyle, the term is embraced as a reflection of the country’s good fortune. And unsurprisingly, this extends to the national minimum wage.

As governed by the Fair Work Act 2009, the national Australia minimum wage 2016 currently sits at $17.70. This equates to $672.70 per 38-hour week, before tax. For casual employees receiving the national minimum wage, a 25% casual loading benefit also applies.

National minimum wages on the rise

Thanks to pressure from unions, 2016 saw the Fair Work Commission increase Australia’s minimum wage by 2.4%. For the nation’s 1.8 million workers who rely on this benchmark, the minimum wage increase 2016 represents an extra $15.80 a week in the bank.

Unions may accuse the 2016 national minimum wage of being too low, yet stack it up against rates from other countries, and $17.70 an hour definitely seems ‘lucky.’

Here’s how we shape up:

United Kingdom

For Brits, an hourly rate of $12.20 is the norm. This is dubbed the National Living Wage, and sees workers aged 25 and over receive £7.20 an hour. Unfortunately, UK workers recently received a bigtime blow in the form of Brexit, which dragged down the national currency and makes £7.20 worth significantly less than it was pre June 23.

New Zealand

Close to home, New Zealanders receive $AU14.22 per hour. The nation may be blessed with stunning natural scenery, but when it comes to the adult minimum wage of $NZD15.25 per hour, Kiwi’s don’t exactly take flight.


This year, French workers rake in a gross hourly minimum wage of €9.67, which equates to $14.98 per hour.


Unlike their French neighbours, Germans earning the national minimum wage receive just over $13 per hour. That said, it’s not uncommon for employers to set higher wages based on bargaining agreements and negotiations. Interestingly, the concept of a minimum wage has only existed in Germany since 2014.


In Canada, minimum wages vary depending on provinces and territories, with hourly rates dropping to as little as $10.37 in British Columbia, and more than $13 in more remote regions like Nunavut.

United States

Like Canada, the USA’s national minimum wage seems dismally low compared to Australia. The federally set rate is just $10.08 per hour, yet hospitality workers rely heavily on the tipping culture to bring in the cash.


Japanese wages vary from region to region, however as a ballpark figure the average national minimum wage is around $10 per hour.


Matching its lower cost of living, Mexico’s general minimum wage is $5.50 per hour.


China has no set national minimum wage, with pay rates varying from as little as $1.68 to $3.93 per hour, depending on locality.

For Australians, the minimum wage is national, which means that workers are entitled to the same base rate, across the country. This means that workers earning the minimum wage Victoria 2016 will receive the same $17.70 per hour rate as their NSW counterparts. It’s fair, consistent and as Kylie famously croons, “lucky, lucky, lucky.”

Share this

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Book a demo of Ento