Fair Work Commission staff may conduct or commission research as part of the annual wage review. The research program for the Annual Wage Review 2021–22 (2021–22 Review) was finalised in a Statement on 18 November 2021 following an invitation to interested parties to comment on the draft research program.
This page will be updated throughout the review.
In undertaking the research program, a Minimum Wages Research Group is consulted comprising representatives nominated by:
The following items will be published to inform the 2021–22 Review.
This will follow the format of previous Statistical reports and will be updated throughout the 2021–22 Review as new data are released. Each version of the Statistical report will be available on the Fair Work Commission (Commission) website.
This will follow the format of previous Research reference lists and will include Australian and international literature, such as working papers, journal articles or other types of published reports relevant to the minimum wages and modern awards objectives. The list will initially cover literature published following the Annual Wage Review 2020–21 and be updated throughout the 2021–22 Review.
Outlines of the research reports to be undertaken for the 2021–22 Review are provided below.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures quarterly changes in the price of a ‘basket’ of goods and services. The goods and services of the CPI basket are weighted based on the amount of expenditure by the average household on these goods and services. These weights are derived from the ABS Household Expenditure Survey (HES). This research would explore and develop a CPI for low-paid households by deriving an index based on the expenditure patterns of low-paid (employee) households using the HES and tracking the prices of these items over times using the CPI. This would provide support to measuring the impact on, and needs of, low-paid households.
The Annual Wage Review 2019–20 decision referred to budget standards as one consideration when assessing the needs of the low paid, including a 2017 report by the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales that priced budgets in 2013. It was acknowledged from the report that ‘beyond the seven-year time horizon, it is preferable to review and revise. the entire budgets to ensure that items, quantities and lifetimes as well as prices are reviewed and adjusted to reflect changes in community norms and average living standards’.
In recent annual wage reviews, the budget standards from the 2017 report have been updated based on the Consumer Price Index. The Commission intends to review and revise the budget items in the 2017 report. The research will expand on the previous report by including feedback from a broader section of the community (both low-paid and middle-income households) and a supplementary budget of discretionary items which might be considered expenditures required to participate in Australian society. This will be externally commissioned for publication in late 2022.
The Commission is engaging with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to explore opportunities to use and link various data sources to undertake research topics relevant to the minimum wages and modern awards objectives. Research proposals and expectant projects will be communicated in due course.
Research material from past annual wage reviews is available.
Go to a complete list of previous research.