Rising wages leave a sour taste for family business

The latest lift to the minimum wage is another blow to family businesses already struggling with high penalty rates. And it's family members who will have to pick up the slack.

The Fair Work Commission’s decision earlier this month to grant an $18.70-a-week pay rise, pitched half-way between the ACTU’s claim for a $27-a-week increase and employers who wanted the rise kept at $8.50 a week is set to hit family businesses hard, and comes as unions and business prepare to do battle over penalty rates.

Alister Haigh, chief executive of Haigh’s Chocolate, a business begun by Alister’s great grandfather Alfred, says the wage decision comes at a bad time for the business.

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