The National Retail Association (NRA) has stated that due to a $1 billion March hit to retail the Fair Work Commission (FWC) should not impose further costs on the sector and maintain the current minimum wage level.
In its Annual Wage Review Submission in reply the NRA cited the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on retail as the key reason why struggling retailers can’t sustain further business costs.
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that a survey of its nationwide membership revealed that a staggering 95 per cent of respondents have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
“The unprecedented economic turmoil has hit the Australian economy harshly, with retail being no exception. By our forecasts, retail lost $1 billion across the month of March, meaning that many jobs and businesses hang in the balance,” Ms Lamb said.
“The NRA has always supported a minimum wage that balances fairness with financial viability, and in the current environment struggling retailers simply won’t be able to afford a wage increase.
“Prioritising jobs during this crisis should be the focus of all industries and that is why we have proposed that the FWC maintain the current minimum wage level.
“Retail was already in a perilous state prior to COVID-19 and the onerous but necessary lockdown restrictions have only seen the situation further deteriorate.”
A full copy of the NRA’s Annual Wage Review Submission in Reply is attached to this media release.
The National Retail Association is Australia’s most representative retail industry association, with more than 24,000 shop fronts nationwide. It has been serving businesses in the retail and fast food sectors for close to 100 years.
Retailer experience of the COVID-19 pandemic – survey results of NRA membership:
- 57% of respondents turnover for the prior calendar year remained the same or decreased;
- 94% of respondents outgoings for the prior calendar year remained the same or increased;
- 7% of respondents stood down their workforces with pay as a result of Covid-19;
- 10% of respondents have increased the cost of their goods or services as a result of Covid-19;
- 21% of respondents reduced the size of their permanent workforce as a result of Covid-19;
- 33% of respondents stood down their workforce without pay as a result of Covid-19;
- 52% of respondents implemented alternative roster arrangements as a result of Covid-19;
- 58% of respondents stopped paying rent and other outgoings as a result of Covid-19;
- 66% of respondents reduced the size of their casual workforce as a result of Covid-19;
- 74% of respondents have reduced their trading hours as a result of Covid-19;
- 95% of respondents STRONGLY AGREE or AGREE it is very difficult to ensure financial stability right now;
- 89% of respondents STRONGLY AGREE or AGREE that they feel very anxious about their financial situation right now; and
- 85% of respondents STRONGLY AGREE or AGREE that they feel very anxious about their future and the ability to maintain their business.