Small businesses call for rejection of minimum wage increase

Low Pay Commission had recommended 25 cent increase

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty said it was ‘the first year that the LPC has reached unanimous agreement on the rate of the national minimum wage’. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty said it was ‘the first year that the LPC has reached unanimous agreement on the rate of the national minimum wage’. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

The recommended rise in the minimum wage is “unacceptable” the Small Firms Association has said.

Director of the association, Sven Spollen-Behrens claimed small firms are already struggling with spiralling costs.

“Government cannot add to the problem by imposing further increases in the minimum wage. For a small firm with ten minimum wage employees, the new rate proposed by the Low Pay Commission would make their annual wage bill more than €25,000 higher compared with 2015,” he said.

The national minimum wage is likely to be increased by 25 cent to € 9.80 an hour later this year under new proposals to be given to Government.

The Low Pay Commission is expected to recommend a rise of 25 cent for adults in a report scheduled to be given to Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty on Wednesday.

Any increase in the national minimum wage on foot of the new recommendation could benefit up to 120,000 workers.

The Small Firms Association called on the Government to reject the recommendation of the Low Pay Commission “in the interests of jobs, competitiveness and our economy’s preparations for Brexit”.

Minister Doherty welcomed the Low Pay Commission’s report. She said she was “delighted” to receive her first such report as minister.

“This is the first year that the LPC has reached unanimous agreement on the rate of the national minimum wage, and I welcome this unanimity,” the Minister said.

Ms Doherty said the report by the LPC highlighted strong growth in the economy and the fact that growth has now spread across the country as a whole.

She noted the commission’s reference to the uncertainty regarding the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, and the potential impact that any eventual decisions in that regard might have on the Irish economy.

“ Over the coming weeks, my colleagues and I will be considering it carefully in the context of planning for Budget 2019,” she said. “The report recommends changes to employer PRSI and measures to enhance compliance, and these aspects also require examination.”