The Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) has written to the minister for finance Michael McGrath urging him take smaller business into account as part of plans to increase the minimum wage.
The Low Pay Commission (LPC) is recommending the government raises the minimum wage by 12% next year, which would bring it from €11.30 per hour to €12.70 per hour.
The Fed’s Ireland president Martin Mulligan, who owns a store in Athlone, said: “While we’re welcoming of increases in the minimum wage, as we want to support key workers, there are a lot of other things coming into effect soon that will only see business costs rising further.
“We believe that the current recommended change does not adequately account for the ability of small retailers to realistically afford to pay for such rises. We would like to pay our staff a realistic and fair wage, but the recommended LPC rates, combined with other business costs, are unsustainable and unaffordable.
“With auto-enrolment pensions, high business rates and massive energy costs, smaller shops are in danger of going under. The government needs to address these issues as a matter of survival for businesses that serve their local communities.
“Small businesses and stores must be taken into consideration when bringing any legislation like this in. Those in authority need to sit down and discuss with us how they can better support small shop owners in Ireland.”