The Small Firms Association (SFA) has criticised the recommendation of the Low Pay Commission for the National Minimum Wage to increase to €9.55 per hour.
The increase would be the third since January 16 and would amount to a 10.4% overall increase in National Minimum Wage.
Linda Barry, SFA Acting Director, stated: “Two-thirds of SFA members plan to give pay rises this year, but increases will be based on the performance of the individual worker and the ability of the business to pay. An increase in the minimum wage imposed by Government, on the other hand, would ignore the realities facing many small businesses, especially those operating on low margins, including in rural areas and in sectors exposed to Brexit.
“This increase would be an additional cost on employers on top of increases in insurance costs and rates bills, and is a serious cause for concern among small businesses.
The SFA warn that this could pose a particular challenge for young people looking to enter the labour market, as 15 – 24 year olds make up almost 40% of those on the minimum wage.
According to Linda Barry “In May 2017, 60% of SFA members said they are looking to take on additional staff in the coming year. Constant increases in the National Minimum Wage, however, create uncertainty and represent a barrier to job creation. This could pose a particular challenge for young people looking to enter the labour market, as 15-24 year olds make up almost 40% of those on the minimum wage.”