The national minimum wage will rise to $622.20 a week, from $606.40 currently, the Fair Work Commission ruled on Monday.
It is less than the $30 a week increase sought by unions but more than the $5.80 wanted by business groups. Last year the national minimum wage rose by $17.10 a week.
The increase is expected to take effect from the first full pay period after 1 July 2013, and will increase the full time Retail Employee Level 1 rate to $683.40 per week (or $17.98 per hour).
Following the announcement, industry groups have warned that the increase in the minimum wage will hurt retailers already struggling with higher power bills, the carbon tax and pricier insurance premiums.
The National Retail Association (NRA) said the wage rise would ramp up the pressure on many slumping retailers.
“[Monday’s] 2.6 per cent national wage rise will be yet another source of pressure on already stretched business budgets,” the NRA’s CEO Trevor Evans said.
“It is in reality the latest in a long line of extra costs burdens, including higher energy prices, the carbon tax, award modernisation and spiralling insurance premiums.”
He said the increase would cause “significant pain for many struggling businesses in the retail sector”. Margy Osmond, from the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA), also lamented the Fair Work decision.
“Today’s minimum wage decision continues the run of disappointing minimum wage decisions for retailers who are only just starting to see improvements in what remains a difficult trading environment,” Osmond said.
The 2.6 per cent lift is less than the $30 a week increase sought by unions but more than the $5.80 wanted by business groups. Last year the national minimum wage rose by $17.10 a week.
Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said the decision would hurt small firms.
“The decision is not sympathetic to the small business economy which it bluntly attacks,” he said in a statement.
“The ARA advocated before the tribunal a realistic and manageable minimum wage increase of no more than $5.80 per week for the retail sector.”