How does Australia’s minimum wage compare?

by Nicola Middlemiss10 Jun 2015
A recent report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has revealed how Australia’s minimum wage compares to other developed countries.

Sitting in the top position, Australians on the minimum wage can expect to take home $12.40 an hour – that’s after tax and other deductions are taken into account, along with the cost of living.

Here are the top five countries’ take-home pay for minimum wage workers:
  1. Australia – $12.40
  2. Luxembourg – $12.01
  3. Belgium – $11.14
  4. Ireland – $11.00
  5. France – $10.71
Eight countries, including Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, were not included in the report because there are no set national rules on minimum pay – many of them have strong labour unions and established arrangements for collective bargaining which means governments don’t have to step in.

The OECD report shows that in Australia, a single minimum wage worker with two children would have to work just six hours a week to lift themselves above the poverty line because they would also receive state benefits.

"They have a high minimum wage and interestingly they have a low tax burden," said Herwig Immervoll, the author of the OECD report. "[Australians] recognize that supporting low wage earners through the tax system is important."

Sitting on the opposite end of the scale at the bottom-of-the-list was Mexico, with an hourly minimum wage equivalent to $1.02.

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