Australian employee households need a raise in the minimum wage to overcome the cost-of-living crisis by at least 1.7 per cent, according to the latest data published by Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The Federal Budget 2024 has revealed the $7.8bn cost-of-living package including energy rebate, lower-cost medicine, and rent relief.

Employee households, whose main income are wages and salaries, are grappling with the rise in living expenses up to 1.7 per cent in the March quarter.

ABS Head of Prices Statistics Michelle Marquardt said that employee households are affected the most by the annual rise in living costs, with higher insurance premiums costs, higher prices for rents, and higher food consumption.

As of July 1, 2023, the national minimum wage in Australia is $23.23 per hour or $882.80 per week, with the annual minimum wage approximately $45,905.

Even though average earnings grew significantly in the first two years of recovery from Covid – 19, inflation grew stronger, so the ‘real value’ of wages declined, according to figures from the Fair Work Commision (FWC).

In a 2023 – 2024 Annual Wage Review submission to the FWC, the Labor Government has urged an increase of minimum wage to make sure the real wages of the low-paid employees do not decline.

“Despite increases in nominal wages, and the return of annual real wages growth, the real value of award wages has been eroded in recent years given the global inflationary environment,” the submission said.

“Low paid workers and their families are particularly affected by cost-of-living pressures because they typically do not have savings to draw on to cover rising costs.”

Minimum wage workers are struggling to make ends meet. Some of them are doing multiple jobs to keep their head above water. Casual employee Mabel Nguyen, 22, who is working at a restaurant in Strathfield, said it is hard to save money due to inflation.

“It is really hard for people due to the rise in the cost of living,” Ms Nguyen said.

“And for me with my income right now, I think it is just enough for me to maintain only my necessary daily cost like renting, transporting.

“I hope that in the future the wage will be increased to make life much easier for people.”

Speaking to The Conversation, Minister for Women Katy Gallagher stated that women are likely to represented in low-paid jobs.

Each year, the Fair Work Commission gathers opinions from unions, employers and Governments to set minimum wages for millions of workers. Changes to wages are expected to be made from July 1.