ARA supports PC recommendations for retail penalty rate reform

21 DECEMBER, 2015:The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has come out in support of the Productivity Commission’s Workplace Relations Framework final report, which emphasises the need for penalty rates need to be set at an economically viable level to support further retail and economic growth while creating more jobs.

Russell Zimmerman, ARA Executive Director, says retailers are happy to have determination of penalty rates left to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) as the ARA has a case currently before the FWC that we believe will influence a reduction in retail penalty rates to a more viable level to more create jobs.

“The ARA, along with the Master Grocers Association is engaged in a review of the General Retail Industry Award 2010 (GRIA), with the view to reducing costs for retailers who trade on Sundays,” said Mr Zimmerman.

The ARA is pushing for a reduction in Sunday penalty rates from 100 percent, known as double time, to 50 per cent, or time and half for retail workers. The ARA is not seeking to remove penalty rates, but instead to have penalties set at a more viable level to allow for the creation of more jobs.

“The recommendation that Sunday penalty rates for retailers should be aligned with Saturday rates is an important step in the recognition that rates are not currently viable for retailers,” he said.

“The retail industry is seeking a moderate reduction, not an abolition. We propose a reduction to allow retailers more flexibility around employment of staff to be able to compete in the 24/7 global marketplace we now find ourselves in.

“The fast food and restaurant industry Awards are both significantly lower than the GRIA for Sunday penalties at just 50 percent, and we would like to see the GRIA brought down to match this.

“The decision on standards such as penalty rates have always been made by independent arbitrators and this is a process the ARA will continue to support, as long as it remains fair and within a reasonable framework,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Retailers fully support the recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s report and look forward to working with the Government and its arbitrator the FWC to achieve these objectives.

ARA Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman, is available for interviews. Call the ARA media team on 0439 612 556 or


About the Australian Retailers Association:
Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the retail industry’s peak representative body representing Australia’s $284 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 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, call 1300 368 041.

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