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Raising the minimum wage has many benefits for workers – providing them with a higher gross income, increased buying power, improved standard of living, and greater disposable earnings. However, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges that small business owners face with mandatory increases. Payroll is one of the biggest financial commitments for any business, and a sudden jump in minimum wage can significantly impact profit margins. From 1 July 2023, these include:

  • Australia’s minimum wage will increase by 8.6 per cent, and award workers will get a 5.75 per cent pay boost
  • The new national minimum wage will be $23.23 per hour, and $882.80 per week, based on a 38-hour week
  • Super guarantee rate increases to 11%

Despite these challenges, it’s crucial to recognise that minimum wage increases can actually enhance productivity within a business. Higher wages attract a more stable and experienced workforce which leads to reduced staff turnover and improved efficiency and effectiveness. While navigating the effects of raising the minimum wage can undoubtedly be challenging, the long-term benefits of a more satisfied and loyal workforce can ultimately outweigh the initial financial strain.

What can you do as a small business owner?

1. Operational efficiencies

Transform your business into a cost-saving machine by taking active measures to eliminate inefficiencies and unnecessary expenses. Streamlining processes, adopting automation technologies, and optimising staffing levels can all minimise the impact on the overall cost structure. Exploring how the supply chain may be optimised can also be a useful investigation.

Looking to invest in employee training and upskilling can lead to a more productive workforce. This can result in maximising the value derived from the increased wages. It may include a strategic view on modern award minimum wages and hours worked.

2. Budgetary adjustments

As business owners, it’s important to be proactive when it comes to managing increased labour costs. In order to cope with these changes, comprehensive budget adjustments must be made. This process involves taking a closer look at financial plans and making necessary revisions to accommodate new wage structures. Reassessing pricing strategies, re-negotiating contracts with suppliers, and exploring potential areas of cost reduction are all effective ways to offset the impact of higher wages. By confidently and strategically approaching these adjustments, business owners can maintain financial stability and continue to succeed in their industries.

3. Pricing and Revenue Strategies

With the higher labour costs, businesses must be strategic in re-evaluating their pricing strategies. While increasing prices may be necessary to maintain profitability, it is important to consider market dynamics and customer expectations. Conducting thorough market research, analysing competitor pricing, and assessing consumer sensitivity to changes in prices can assist in making informed decisions. There are also ways to counteract higher labour costs such as exploring alternative revenue streams, diversifying product offerings, or targeting new customer segments. By striking a careful balance between pricing and other business decisions, companies can stay competitive and profitable despite the pressures of rising labour costs.

4. Workforce Planning

Some options for business owners to consider when reassessing staffing needs and labour allocation is to look at the following:

  • Cross-training employees to handle multiple roles
  • Optimise schedules to ensure optimal coverage during peak hours
  • Evaluate the possibility of flexible or remote working arrangements

To lessen the impact of increased wages, owners can adjust their workforce to better suit the changing needs of their business.

5. Employee Engagement and Retention

Now is a golden opportunity for business owners to foster a positive work environment and boost employee morale. Recognising and rewarding employees for their hard work, offering additional benefits, and providing growth opportunities can go a long way in retaining valuable staff members. By investing in employee happiness, businesses can significantly reduce the costs associated with turnover and training. Happier employees also tend to be more productive, engaged, and invested in the success of the business, making it a win-win situation for all parties involved. Ultimately, the minimum wage increase can be a powerful tool for creating a thriving and successful workplace.

6. Collaboration and Industry Support

As a business owner, you need to know that you are not alone in navigating the challenges of the minimum wage increase. Seeking support and collaboration within your industry can go a long way in helping you overcome this hurdle. Trade associations, chambers of commerce, and networking groups offer a unique opportunity to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs and gain access to resources, insights, and best practices. Through these channels, you can share experiences and brainstorm innovative solutions.

Make Changes to comply with new wage laws

Although the wage increase is intended to keep up with the rising cost of living, it poses a significant complexity for business owners. Planning ahead ensures your business remains sustainable and continues to thrive, using the introduction of strategies that work alongside the increasing labour costs. By doing so, you can effectively adapt to the new wage system. We can help you with your budget and ensure your payroll is updated before your next pay run. Contact Amanda today to book an appointment.

This blog post is intended for informational and educational purposes only. The information provided in this blog post should not be taken as professional accounting advice or recommendations.

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