The NFRN has demanded the Low Pay Commission considers the independent retailer when making its recommendation on increasing the national minimum wage.
The federation made the call in its annual written submission to the Low Pay Commission. It warned that rises to minimum wage rates threatened jobs and staff working hours, and often resulted in shop owners having to take on extra hours themselves.
“The headline increase in the wage rate does not include the increase in the national insurance and pension contributions that employers also have to pay,” said NFRN national president Stuart Reddish.
“Given that many of the items on sale in our 11,000 members’ stores – particularly newspapers and magazines – are price-marked, retailers are unable to increase prices to cover these additional payrolls costs. We would all like to pay our staff more, but increases to both the national minimum wage and living wage force our members to cut staffing levels and hours, taking on more of the work themselves.
“All too often, we end up paying ourselves less than the national minimum wage per hour.”
He added that local independent stores are valued by local people as they provide much-needed services and a heart for the community. “Increasing costs, be they payroll, business rates or the costs of provider services, are continuing to damage businesses and reducing the amenities available to the local communities,” he said.
The current hourly wage rates are: £8.72 for workers aged over 25; £8.20 for 21-24 year olds; £6.45 for 18-20 year olds; £4.55 for those under 18; and £4.15 for apprentices.