Aussie Money

Australia’s peak retail industry body has stated that today’s Fair Work Commission (FWC) wage review decision is a mixed bag for retailers at a crucial point in the nation’s COVID-recovery.

The National Retail Association (NRA) had argued that with snap state lockdowns still occurring, further time was needed before enacting minimum wage rises.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said retailers welcomed the deferral for retail, hair, beauty and restaurant workers however were concerned that the increase did not conform with CPI.

“Retailers would have liked a more balanced approach that would have seen a more modest rise given there remains much uncertainty in the business community,” Ms Lamb said.

“The NRA was the loudest and most consistent voice out of any retail group and we are glad that our strong advocacy defeated the ACTU claim for a job-destroying 3.5 per cent rise.

“We absolutely want workers to receive a pay increase but both the amount and the timing needs to be carefully considered. Australia is at a delicate point in its recovery from the COVID-recession, which is why the NRA always believed that the prudent approach was an increase in line with CPI coming into effect in November 2021.

“Snap state lockdowns are still not a thing of the past and since the end of March businesses have not had the JobKeeper safety net. In 2021 we’ve seen numerous state governments plunge their economies into lockdown and on each occasion official ABS data reveals that retail turnover decreases.

“The NRA is grateful that the FWC clearly took a considered approach to its judgement, but we remain concerned about the impact the larger than expected rate may have on some businesses.”