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Australian Wage

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Australian Wage

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1. Posted by vsb123 (Budding Member 16 posts) 8y

Hi

How much can i expect to work from a standard no brain required job in Australia. Something like bar work or fruit picking, labouring even?

I know it'll vary to some extent on various factors but whats a ball park figure?

Cheers

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 8y

If I googled right, the Australian minimum wage is currently $13.74 per hour. (Australian dollars, obviously.) I also see something about a "casual hourly" rate ($16.49), and an exemption for certain types of work, including bar work in South Australia.
Fruit picking often goes per volume, and for many people reportedly ends up below the minimum wage (don't know how that's allowed).

3. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 8y

In Australia it would depend on your employer as to how much you will get. They have work place agreements which some employers force you to sign (even though it is meant to be illegal to do so) and if you get that their is a chance you could be on very little. I work my bum off (far more than the majority of people have to do) for a measly $13.31 an hour which is less than $13.74 an hour minimum wage that Sander mentions. That's not to mention all the extra hours a week after I leave work that I have to work at home for my job for no extra pay. So the minimum wage can be less than that mentioned by Sander depending on your employer and your position.

In other jobs your work could be far easier and far less pressure and you get paid 1 1/2 times what I do, so you may be lucky and have to do little work for quite a lot, or may pluck the short straw and have to work long hours for little financial reward.

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 5, 2008, at 5:48 PM by aharrold45 ]

4. Posted by Cool Paul (Travel Guru 611 posts) 8y

jeez I just looked to see how much that is in american dollars.....$11.70 an hour... holy!...for minimum wage?!

minimum wage in the US is 7.15 an hour (after taxes that's just enough to rent a one bedroom apartment at most places) and up until a couple of years ago it was like 5.15.

I know a few people that have worked warehouse jobs for years and only make around 11 an hour.

Depending on how much food and necessary products cost in australia 13.31 doesn't seem bad at all.

5. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 8y

Quoting Cool Paul

Depending on how much food and necessary products cost in australia 13.31 doesn't seem bad at all.

$13.31 an hour is barely enough to be independant by living by yourself without being on the streets, let alone any luxuries like internet, mobile telephone etc. That's why so many people in Australia 25+ years old live with their parents still. Unless you are on $20,000+ after tax a year it is pretty hard to live by yourself with any luxuries. It just isn't affordable if single to even afford basic living expenses after taxes with rent being quite a lot for even a trashy heap in the middle of no where.

To give you a basic idea of food in Australia a Mars bar at the supermarket costs about $1.29AUD on special (even more in small shops), in the USA I was able to buy 3 for about $1.25AUD at Rite-Aid when it was on special and that was when the dollar was not so good! Most other food in the US was fairly similar in price difference when on special, or approx 2 for the price of 1 when not on special (except things like McDonalds which are generally the same or slightly cheaper in Australia). When I was last in the US (in 2006) petrol was about the equivalent of 2 litres in America costing the same as 1 litre in Australia (roughly). That may have changed though from what I have been hearing in the news.

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 5, 2008, at 7:42 PM by aharrold45 ]

6. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 8y

When comparing salaries between countries to see if one is "better or worse off", it is necessary to compare the price of a good or service as a percentage of the salary that you earn. This is was aharrold45 has done with his Mars Bar example.

There is no point saying, "wow petrol in the UK is AUD $2.50 per litre how ever do they survive" just as there is no point saying "wow food in supermarkets in Brazil is ridiculously cheap, they must all have left over money at the end of every week and have a high standard of living".

Exchange rate comparisons are a nonsense. Expressing costs as a a percentage of your salary is really the only true method to get any sort of cost comparison.

The minimum wage of $13.74 in Australia is just that; the minimum you can live on to remain above the poverty line. Then there's the old question of defining "poverty" (can't afford food, or can't afford a mobile phone?) but that's a chestnut to be cracked another day.

7. Posted by Erik85 (Respected Member 274 posts) 8y

Quoting Cool Paul

jeez I just looked to see how much that is in american dollars.....$11.70 an hour... holy!...for minimum wage?!

minimum wage in the US is 7.15 an hour (after taxes that's just enough to rent a one bedroom apartment at most places) and up until a couple of years ago it was like 5.15.

What those said above is true, you have to take the cost of living into account. Also Australia tends to have a more socialist position than the US when it comes to unemployment benefits. I'd doubt we'd have as many homeless people or those living in cars/trailer parks/etc. as I hear in the US! But of course this comes at the risk of those living off their benefits and not looking for work, and more taxes for those who earn salaries (trying to the show balance so I don't start a political argument :) ). With my obviously biased opinion I think we have it pretty good though!

Oh and the US dollar has also dropped a lot lately, a couple years ago if you did the basic foriegn exchange calculation it would have been a lot closer.

Erik

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 6, 2008, at 2:44 AM by Erik85 ]

8. Posted by Peter (Admin 5813 posts) 8y

Actually, the minimum wage and poverty line are not really connected. One is a legal requirement for employers to stop them from abusing their workers and the other is a way of measuring how much someone needs for basic survival (food, housing, clothing and not much else).

A well known index of poverty in Australia is the Henderson Poverty Line, which most recently (June Quarter 07) set the weekly poverty line at $672.06 for a family of 2 adults and 2 dependent children. If both adults were working full time (40 hrs p/w) that would be a "minimum" hourly wage of $8.40 to make the poverty line.

For a single person, the weekly poverty line including housing is $357.81 or $8.94 per hour (if assuming 40 hours work per week). It is clear that the minimum wage of $13.74 is not directly related to the poverty line and at least in theory should be plenty for someone to live on, provided they can get a full time job (which is a WHOLE other story).

I think in general the Australian minimum wage is considered to be quite high compared to other countries. And that's not to say I don't think they are at an appropriate level - because I do.

9. Posted by Cool Paul (Travel Guru 611 posts) 8y

hmmm after hearing everyones responses it still sounds pretty good.

10. Posted by phil767 (Budding Member 54 posts) 8y

Tell Me about It! I've been in oz a week from the UK I thought there was expensive, At the moment while I am not working, I watch the pennies like mad,

I've even started buying groceries Mashed potatoe and beans everyday but that's also due in fact that Oz seems to have put tons of e numbers in their products.