Australian Retailers Association enters minimum wage debate

time sheet, pay, wage

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has recommended an increase of 1.2 per cent in its submission to the Fair Work Commissions’ Annual Wage Review.

“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,” said ARA executive director, Russell Zimmerman.

The recommendation echoes Australia’s peak business body, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), who says the Fair Work Commission should give a modest increase in the minimum wage to help deal with high youth unemployment.

In its submission to the Annual Wage Review, the ACCI has proposed an increase to the minimum wage of no more $7.90 per week to a total weekly income of $664.80.

“We need to make it easy for businesses to hire staff,” chamber spokesperson Patricia Forsythe said.

Forsythe said the 730,000 Australians out of work, including 250,000 young people, need a “job-friendly” approach to the minimum wage.

“Economic data shows there is spare capacity in the labour market, indicating that many low-paid and low-skilled workers are struggling to find work,” Ms Forsythe said.

“In setting the minimum wage, the Fair Work Commission must avoid impeding access to jobs or training opportunities, which can set people on a path to higher pay later in life.”

The Australian Council of Trade Unions is pushing for an increase of $30 a week to $686.90, saying it will help halt the decline in living standards.

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