Changes to retail workers’ penalty rates apply from today

November, 2018

By Lisa Anaf, Partner and Sarah Saliba, Lawyer

At a time when retail business is getting ready to hire their Christmas casuals, the Fair Work Commission has reviewed the General Retail Industry Award 2010 (the Retail Award) and:

(a) increased penalty rates for casual workers covered by the Award working weekday evening shifts and Saturday shifts; and
(b) decreased penalty rates for casual, full-time and part-time workers covered by the Award working Sunday shifts.

When do the changes commence?

The penalty rate changes will commence from 1 November 2018 and will be phased in over the next three to five years.

What are the changes?

Saturday shifts

Casual employees covered by the Retail Award working between 7:00am and 6:00pm on a Saturday will have their penalty rates increased to 25% by 2020 in the following stages:

Weekday evening shifts

Casual employees covered by the Retail Award working after 6:00pm on a weekday will have their penalty rates increased to 25% by 2021 in the following stages:

Sunday shifts

Casual shiftworkers covered by the Retail Award working Sunday shifts will have their penalty rate (inclusive of casual loading) reduced from 225% to 200% by 2020 in the following stages:

Full-time and part-time shiftworkers will also be affected by a reduction of the Sunday penalty rate which will reduce from 200% to 175% by 2020 in the following stages:

How does this impact your business?

From 1 November 2018, businesses must pay casual retail employees an additional:

(a) 15% for performing Saturday shifts; and
(b) 5% for performing work on a weekday after 6:00pm.

 

Following the Commission’s decision, employers should review their rates of pay to ensure that employees are at all times being paid the required wage.  Harsh penalties of up to $126,000 apply to employers who fail to meet their minimum wage obligations so we encourage employers to immediately audit their employees’ pay to ensure they comply on 1 November.

For employees paid in accordance with minimum wages in modern awards (or the national minimum wage), this means ensuring that payroll systems are ready to pass on the increased wages from the first full pay period on or after 1 November 2018.

Employers with enterprise agreements will need to ensure that the rate of pay payable to employees under the agreement does not fall below the applicable base rate of pay under the relevant modern award.

If you require further advice on the issues raised in this alert, please do not hesitate to contact Lisa Anaf.

Contact Mills Oakley


Lisa Anaf | Partner
T: +61 3 9605 0857
E: lanaf@millsoakley.com.au

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