Increasing Wages & Converting to Salary - NBIA Industrial Relations Advice

How to increase wages and convert them to salaries

It’s no secret that baking businesses around the country are experiencing staff shortages and struggling to retain quality staff. Many solutions have been suggested from increase wages & convert to salary to changing the hours of work to suit todays lifestyle. All industries are experiencing what can only be described as the worst staffing crisis since the Gold Rushes of the 1850s. As we walk through shopping center’s, drive through industrial estates and even just on the main roads, we are seeing signs, professionally printed, and permanently posted, advertising vacant positions.

So, where did everybody go? That’s a great question, but one employers just don’t have time to answer because they are too busy trying to fill the gaps in production and customer service.

As a result of these shortages, we are seeing existing staff who are now aware of the ability to change jobs and get an immediate pay increase, significantly so, on what are already over Award wages. To be honest, the Award is an interesting guide now, but the rates set out within it bear little resemblance to what is being paid in the workplace. 

The upshot of this is that we are getting a significant number of calls seeking advice on how to increase wages & convert to salary so the penalty rates and allowances are all “rolled in” to the one rate. This is quite straightforward process that requires a bit of maths to make sure you don’t end up on the wrong end of a wages claim. 

The first step is to properly draft the contract. NBIA members will have access to a number of templates on the Members Portal, however, the following paragraph should be inserted into the “remuneration” clause section:

The salary set out in this contract has been calculated to include payment for all overtime, loadings, penalty rates, allowances and other monetary entitlements specified in the relevant Award. As such no additional payments will be made in relation to those entitlements. The Employer retains the right to offset any “over Award” payment against any Award entitlement whether it is explicitly listed above or not.

Finally, please ensure that the salary you agree to pay is enough to ensure that the employee would not have been paid more if they were being paid strictly in accordance with the Award. In other words, they have to be “better off overall” when compared with the Award entitlements.

As always, if you have any questions in relation to paying your staff, Awards, Contracts of Employment, or any other workplace matter, don’t forget your membership entitles you to free telephone and email advice through our NBIA Membership Hotline (0477 666 599).