Majority of small firms paying a living wage in Northern Ireland
The majority of small firms in Northern Ireland are paying their staff the living wage or above, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.
The organisation was responding to a report by Oxford Economics on behalf of the Northern Ireland Centre for Voluntary Action (NICVA).
Entitled "An Economic Analysis of the Living Wage in Northern Ireland", the study suggested that introducing a mandatory living wage would lead to an increase in employment.
The living wage is an hourly rate that is assessed as giving workers a basic standard of living.
For Northern Ireland it is £7.65 an hour, compared to the statutory minimum wage of £6.31 an hour.
The research claimed that a mandatory payment would lead to 1,200 jobs being lost but 2,400 new jobs being created.
FSB Northern Ireland policy chairman Wilfred Mitchell said that although 74% of members in Northern Ireland pay their staff at or above the Living Wage, in many new start-up businesses, the owner often does not take a salary.