This paper seeks to increase the understanding of the impact of award wage increases on small businesses in Australia by providing an analysis of the characteristics and performance of small award-reliant businesses and their employees.

Results derived from firm level data showed that small award-reliant only businesses were less likely to experience increased productivity, profitability and remain viable over time relative to other businesses. Data on employees found that award-reliant employees in small businesses resembled award-reliant workers in larger businesses more than non-award-reliant workers in small businesses.
This analysis, including the scope of the paper, could have been improved with better firm level data in the form of a Linked Employer-Employee Dataset, as data limitations prevent empirical testing of the potential impact of adjustments made to award wages on small businesses.

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