The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged the government to help retailers by delaying the living wage rise to £10.50, which is scheduled for 2024.
In a submission to the Treasury select committee, the lobbying group pointed out that the target was set before the economic damage of Covid-19.
Around 70 per cent of retailers do not think the government’s plan is sustainable.
The ACS claimed that even the existing living wage, which increased to £8.91 last month, meant that employers had delayed investment and reduced working hours.
Elsewhere in its submission, the group suggested easing the burden on store owners by lowering the earnings limit for employees to make national insurance contributions.
It also warned the government not to introduce unnecessary employment regulations.
For example, paying staff for cancelled shifts “would not account for circumstances outside an employer’s control”.
“Local shops have welcomed the support that the government has provided at each stage of the pandemic,” ACS chief executive James Lowman said.
“Convenience stores provide local, flexible and secure jobs for around 412,000 people across the UK and it is vital that the government continues to provide support to retailers.”
The news comes after Morrisons became the first UK supermarket to pay staff a minimum of £10 an hour earlier this year.