ARA press release

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has recommended a modest increase to the minimum wage of no more than 1.2 percent in its submission to the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) Annual Wage Review.

The ARA’s position preserves the value of the minimum wage over recent years, where wages have outstripped selling prices in the retail industry for an extended period.

Russell Zimmerman, ARA Executive Director, said that the peak retail industry body strongly recommends FWC hand down a minimum wage increase that is realistic and reasonable.

“Any changes to the minimum wage must consider weak economic trading conditions, current and imminent wage bill increases for industries undergoing structural adjustment and underemployment levels,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“We ask the FWC to consider high minimum wage increases over recent years as compensation that the economy, employment levels, and businesses can no longer afford. 

“We recommend FWC adopts the 2015-2016 Annual Wage Review and awards an increase of no greater than 1.2 percent, which translates to a $7.90 per week increase to the national minimum wage and bringing it to $664.80 per week.”

In putting forward its recommendation, the ARA has worked with national business group, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), in addition to the ARA’s retailer membership.

“The ARA supports ACCI’s position in outlining the economic risks and the state of the national economy capacity to pay within the sector.

“The Australian economy is facing a difficult period of transition in the near term, and our proposed increase in the National Minimum Wage seeks to minimise employment losses in a weak labour market,” said Mr Zimmerman.