ARA SUBMITS A TWO-STAGE PAY ARRANGEMENT FOR PENALTY RATES REDUCTION

Friday 24 March 2017:Today the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has issued a submission to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) regarding their proposed two-stage transition for the Sunday penalty rate reduction.

This transitional structure recommends permanent and casual Sunday penalty rates be reduced to 175% from 1 July 2017. The second stage of this phased arrangement proposes permanent Sunday penalty rates be reduced to 150% from 1 July 2018.

ARA Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman, said this phased approach will assist retailers in employing more staff and sustaining growth in the retail industry.

“Implementing this penalty rate reduction correctly is not only critical to the industry, but to everyone in the sector,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“When this phased approach is implemented it will allow retailers to start trading longer, employ more staff, increase staff hours and improve turnover.”

The ARA has spoken with its members and legal team and strongly believe Take Home Pay Orders will be an unmanageable process and will not be a legally available mechanism for the Commission.

“We want this Modern Award to succeed, and allowing Take Home Pay Orders will add an unnecessary administrative burden to those involved in the application of this pay arrangement, and those working within the industry,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Based on the ARA’s evidence presented before the Commission, this transitional structure will leave no, to very marginal, negative impact to employees in the industry, and balances the need to mitigate the impact against the many benefits of implementing the changes in full.

“This two-stage pay arrangement will allow retailers to offer additional work hours to current employees, and employ more staff across the sector, reducing the unemployment rate in Australia,” Mr Zimmerman said.

With a July 1 implementation date, the first to benefit from these changes will be small businesses and those operating under theGeneral Retail Industry Award 2010.

“The ARA has been working to ensure that Federal Parliament does not interfere with this independent and fair process set up by Bill Shorten and Julia Gillard,” Mr Zimmerman said.

The ARA said retailers were pleased that the Government is holding strong on the Commission’s independence along with the major pro-small business crossbench Senators, Members and Parties.

“We urge the Labor Party to work with businesses to increase prosperity and flexibility in the retail sector which will grow business, jobs and overall wages through increased trading,” Mr Zimmerman said.

The FWC sought submissions on transitional arrangements today on the best way to implement penalty rate changes before making its final decision on how best to transition. The ARA has lead the case and worked with Master Grocers Association Independent Retailers and the Franchise Council of Australia in supporting the case.

To view the ARA’s full submission to the Fair Work Commission, please click here.

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For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmermancall the ARA Media Line on 0439 612 556, or email media@retail.org.au

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the retail industry’s peak representative body representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. The ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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