Business groups like the Australian Chamber of Commerce and the Australian Industry Group, are calling for the minimum wage increase to be minimised or deferred this year.
They claim higher penalty rates, apprentice wages and superannuation levies are hitting them hard.
"With employment growth very slow for most of last year and not looking all that healthy as we head into 2014, we need to avoid adding to costs," AiGroup chief executive Innes Willox said.
But these ‘added costs’ are keeping people, like cleaner Gamal Babiker, from slipping into poverty.
To the business groups’ claims that a small increase to the minimum wage would be unaffordable, Gamal said ‘try walking in my shoes.’
The Fair Work Commission sets minimum wage increases in Australia, with workers granted a rise of $15.80 a week last June.
It plays an important role in ensuring 1.5 million Australians have a strong safety net.
Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten says "Labor does not support a working poor as we see in the United States."
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