he Fair Work Commission delivered a pay rise to 2.2 million Australians today,as it confirmed it will raise the minimum wage by 3 per cent as of July 1,2019.

The increased minimum wage will amount to $740.80 a week, or $19.49 an hour.That is $21.60 per week more than the current weekly figure. All modern awardminimum wages will also increase by 3 per cent.

The National Retailers Association warned that this increase could createproblems for retailers, as they head into a potentially more challengingperiod ahead.

“The NRA remains concerned that the challenging period experienced by thesector is not over, which is why we advocated for a minimum wage increase ofno more than 1.8 per cent,” NRA chief executive Dominique Lamb said.

“Although we remain wary about the impact this rise may have on mum-and-dadsmall businesses, we most certainly welcome the fact that the FWC stronglyrejected the job-destroying increase of 6 per cent proposed by the [AustralianCouncil of Trade Unions].”

FWC president Ian Ross said the current economic conditions justified the wageincrease, and that it was not likely to see a measurable negative impact onemployment.

Employsure founder and managing director of workplace relations Ed Mallettnoted that the decision has a disproportionate effect on small businesses.Customers likely won’t see a 3 per cent rise in prices, meaning businesseswill need to make up the difference themselves.

“In just over a month, businesses will need to absorb these changes and willbe expected to be compliant,” Mallett said.

“Wages have been a part of the national debate for the past few months andit’s important to strike a balance between employees and employers.

“Wages will always change and that is just the nature of the economy, but thatdoesn’t mean businesses won’t struggle.”

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