The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said it was reeling by Fair Work Australia's decision to increase the minimum wage by $26 per week at a time when retailers are already facing a double whammy with Modern Award wage increases from 1 July.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said Fair Work Australia has made an irresponsible decision that ignores both retail wage bill pressures and current poor trading conditions impacting retailers' bottom line.
"This is an unrealistic and unreasonable increase on wage bills for award-reliant industries and it will cost jobs at a time when retailers are cutting staff hours to try and keep their doors open during soft trading conditions.”
Zimmerman said the minimum wage decision is complicated by the fact that retailers already face higher labour costs from 1 July due to the commencement of the Modern Award transitional arrangements.
"Let's not forget small and medium employers who will have to pay this unreasonable minimum wage rise, are dealing with the same struggles as Australian workers including six interest rate rises since October, a lack of access to finance and dampened consumer confidence."
Zimmerman said Fair Work Australia's decision will ultimately cost jobs.