The Small Firms Association (SFA) has said the increase in the national minimum wage to €10.10 from this Saturday, 1 February 2020, will leave employers “stretched”.
Director Sven Spollen-Behrens said: “The national minimum wage has increased by 16.8% since 2015.
“Small employers have stretched to meet the challenge set by these significant rises on top of increases in utilities, insurance costs and rates bills”.
He warned that allowing costs to get out of control in times of economic growth will repeat the mistakes of the past and said the upcoming general election provides the next government with the opportunity to reconcile pay demands with threats to competitiveness.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce network in the north has said that the NI Executive must progress its sub-committee on Brexit and the independent Fiscal Council as a priority.
Following a recent meeting of the chamber network, the group commented: “The group welcomes the return of an Executive at Stormont; however, we now strongly encourage Ministers to act in a cohesive way and start making big decisions on the issues facing business.
“They must start tackling the barriers to business growth immediately whilst also ensuring the quick implementation of the sub-committee on Brexit and the independent Fiscal Council.”
The network has called for action on a broken business rates system, skills challenges, low export figures and infrastructure, with the latter described as “sub-optimal”.
“There is a lack of delivery of key projects and our road networks are not well maintained,” the Chamber said.