The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is calling for a cautious approach to increasing the National Living Wage (NLW) and other statutory minimum wage rates in 2022/23 to allow the labour market and economy to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
Informed by the ACS National Living Wage Survey 2021, the ACS submission recommends that the Low Pay Commission (LPC) should consider extending the timetable for NLW reaching two-thirds of median earnings by 2024, which is currently projected to be £10.33.
Findings from the ACS National Living Wage Survey 2021 show that:
- convenience retailers have primarily responded to the £8.91 NLW rate by taking lower profits (68%), increasing prices (48%) and automating certain processes (44%);
- almost two thirds of convenience retailers (58%) believe that the planned increase to the NLW to £10.33 in 2024, would impact their business investment plans and could have a negative impact on the number of employees in their business (63%).
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The UK Labour market is still feeling the impact of pandemic, with the phasing out of the furlough scheme and shortages or workers in some sectors. It is right that the Low Pay Commission takes a cautious approach when setting wage rates for next year and reviews the timetable for the National Living Wage rate reaching two-thirds of median earnings in 2024.
“Convenience stores provide local, secure and flexible employment to hundreds of thousands of people across the UK and throughout the pandemic we have seen how our colleagues have continued to work on the frontline to serve their communities. Many retailers have taken steps to reward staff for their exceptional work with bonuses and enhanced benefits.”