The National Retailers Association says raising the minimum wage by $50 a week will ultimately crush jobs rather than create them.
In a submission to the Fair Work Commission, the ACTU estimates that 87,000 new jobs would be created over two years following a 7.2 per cent increase in the minimum wage, with 60,000 jobs generated in the first year – but the NRA says it believes this is a fanciful proposal.
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb says the proposal smacks of something dreamt up by someone who has never had to pay wages out of their own pocket and is ignorant of the challenges of running a small business.
“Paying workers $50 extra a week is pointless if that same worker loses their job or has their shifts cut due to the business being unable to afford the higher wage,” she said.
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“The proposal by the ACTU will just provide yet another challenge for mum-and-dad small-business owners trying to make ends meet.”
Ms Lamb says the proposed policy is economically flawed because raising the minimum wage won’t magically create jobs from nowhere.
“Small-business owners are not charities who can afford to just bankroll higher and higher wages,” she said.
“If the cost of employing people goes up, then the ability to employ people reduces.”