The National Retail Association (NRA) has warned that the sector still faces a challenging period ahead as the Fair Work Commission (FWC) increased the minimum wage by 3 per cent.
Despite a slowing economy and sluggish retail sales throughout Christmas and the beginning months of 2019, the increased rate sits well above the current Consumer Price Index (CPI).
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb did however note that retailers were glad that the FWC strongly rejected the extravagant request by the ACTU to jack up the minimum wage by a job-destroying 6 per cent.
“The NRA remains concerned that the challenging period experienced by the sector is not over, which is why we advocated for a minimum wage increase of no more than 1.8 per cent,” Ms Lamb said.
“We support a minimum wage that strikes the right balance between fairness and affordability, which is why we had cautioned the FWC against setting the new wage too high as it could cost jobs.
“Although we remain wary about the impact this rise may have on mum-and-dad small businesses, we most certainly welcome the fact that the FWC strongly rejected the job-destroying increase of 6 per cent proposed by the ACTU.
“The economy does seem to have rebounded since the federal election with consumers clearly feeling a greater sense of certainty, however it is still too early to tell if this is just a temporary sugar-hit. It is for this reason that the Government should make tax cuts a priority on its agenda when parliament next sits.”
The NRA made two separate submissions to the FWC Expert Panel in March and April 2019 respectively. In both submissions, they argued for a minimum wage increase of no more than 1.8 per cent, equivalent to CPI as at December 2018.