Wage rise toput pressure on businesses

December 5, 2023

The state’s peak business organisation, Business NSW, says the decision of the Fair Work Commission to raise the National Minimum Wage by 5.2% and modern award minimum wage rates by 4.6% will put pressure on small businesses at a time when the cost of doing business is already rising.

Business NSW agreed that there should have been a rise in wages, with our submission to the Fair Work Commission advocating that up to 3% on top of the 0.5% rise to the Superannuation Guarantee was a sensible common ground. The Commission has disagreed,” said Business NSW Regional Manager, Kellon Beard.

“We know from our regular Business Conditions Surveys that the costs of doing business are a major concern for business owners, and this will only add to their worries,” Mr. Beard said.

Business NSW estimates today’s ruling equates to around a $2.5 billion increase in annual costs to NSW businesses.

“It’s easy to forget that 98% of all businesses in NSW are classified as small businesses.

“The Commission has taken into account the pressure on some sectors, with the rise to commence in the Tourism, Hospitality and Aviation sectors from 1 October, rather than 1 July for other Awards.

“In the public sector, we think the NSW Government has got it right with a 3% increase, going up to 3.5% next year with productivity reforms.  This approach strikes the right balance between ensuring government sector front line workers get a pay rise while keeping an eye firmly on increasing debt and costs for the taxpayer.

“This increase is going to take the wind out of the sails of a number of business owners.  Despite what many think, no industry has fully bounced back from the ravages of the COVID pandemic, and business owners are battling to open their doors each day.

“In the short term it seems that prices will continue to rise as businesses need ways to cover this dramatic rise in staff costs,” Mr. Beard said.

About Business NSW

Formerly the NSW Business Chamber, Business NSW is the peak policy and advocacy body which has been representing businesses in NSW since 1826.

Media Contact – Kellon Beard 0427 767 246