Australia's lowest paid workers should not have to carry the costs of job protection, Australian Catholic Social Justice Council chairman Bishop Christopher Saunders says in the annual Pastoral Letter for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker.
The letter refers to the Australian Fair Pay Commission's current review of the federal minimum wage.
"This wage should provide for a decent standard of living not only for workers but for their families," Bishop Saunders said. "Currently it is not keeping pace with rising costs of living, particularly the skyrocketing costs of rent.
"The Federal Government and the Fair Pay Commission must bear in mind those who have struggled to survive on low wages and income support when most benefited during the years of prosperity. This financial crisis was not of their making. They should not be deprived of the wage increases they need to meet their basic costs of living.
"Those seeking work, too, need to be assured that they will be protected from poverty when they are in work. Ensuring a decent minimum wage safety net will be a most important factor in providing security for working families who rely on the minimum wage and income support."
Lowest paid need security (Canberra Goulburn Diocesan News)
Working families and the minimum wage at a time of financial crisis (ACSJC Pastoral Letter 2009)