1 Mar 2016

Minimum wage increase 'going to cost'

3:27 pm on 1 March 2016

A cleaning business owner is worried the minimum wage increase will put his company, and other small and medium companies, under financial pressure.

A worker mops a floor next to a 'cleaning in progress' sign.

Photo: 123RF

The adult minimum hourly wage will rise 50 cents to $15.25 from 1 April.

Cleaning business owner Dominic Drumm, who is also the president of Building Service Contractors, said members did not expect an increase as high as 3.4 percent in today's low inflation environment.

Companies would need to find a way to cover the cost of higher wages, Mr Drumm said.

"I have roughly 100 staff on my books and it's going to cost me around $25,000 extra in wages a year and it's a low margin industry.

"As a small business owner I can't absorb that. I'm going to have to talk to my customers and clients and look at options at passing that cost on."

The organisation's members employed more than 20,000 people and the companies would be feeling the pinch, he said.

It would not necessarily lead to companies cutting staff, but if clients could not take on the extra costs, companies might have to reduce cleaning hours, he said.

But the government said it had struck the right balance with the increase.

Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse said it had been careful to make sure jobs were not affected and that businesses could handle the rise.

The rise would be significant for a large employer but he had heard from some businesses that were willing to pay more, he said.

"We've got people on the left who say that we didn't do enough, and the minimum wage should be higher and we've got others saying it's too high. I think we've landed in about the right place.

"We've been very careful to make sure that jobs aren't affected by this but we're also cognizant of the costs on business."