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Alert: Changes to Retail Industry penalty rates from 1 November 2018

The Fair Work Commission has made changes to some penalty rates in the General Retail Industry Award.  In short, the Commission has increased weekday evening (Monday to Friday after 6pm) and Saturday penalty rates for casuals and has decreased Sunday shiftwork penalty rates for both casuals and permanent employees.

The changes will be phased in from 1 November 2018 and will progressively take effect over the next few years as follows.

  • Weekday evenings – casuals will be entitled to a 5% penalty rate from 1 November 2018, with the penalty rate increasing to 25% by 1 March 2021.
  • Saturdays – casuals will be entitled to a 15% penalty rate from 1 November 2018, with the penalty rate increasing to 25% by 1 March 2020. Currently, casuals are only entitled to a 10% Saturday penalty rate for hours worked between 7:00am and 6:00pm.  The new penalty rate is for all hours worked on a Saturday.
  • Sunday shiftwork – permanent employees will have their Sunday shiftwork rate reduced to 195% from 1 November 2018, with the rate decreasing to 175% by 1 July 2020. Casual employees will have their Sunday shiftwork rate reduced to 220% on 1 November 2018, with the rate decreasing to 200% by 1 July 2020.

The changes will be inserted into the General Retail Industry Award shortly.  Employers should start to prepare now for the changes and will need to ensure that the new penalty rates are applied from 1 November 2018.  Employers may want to communicate the changes with employees in advance.  It may also be appropriate for some employers to consider how employees are engaged and rostered and the impact the new penalty rates may have on their business.

Aitken Legal can be contacted for queries about the changes or any other employment law related matter.

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