27 September | SDA wins major penalty rate increase for casual workers

The SDA has today won a major case in the Fair Work Commission that will see penalty rates for over 350,000 causal retail workers increased on Saturday’s and for evening work from November this year.


First lodged in 2015, the SDA’s application to lift casual rates in the General Retail Industry Award (GRIA) was part of the Commission’s long-running review of modern awards.


SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer welcomed the Fair Work Commission decision as a major win that would result in significant pay increases for hundreds of thousands of retail workers.


The pay increases will be phased in over the next three years to 2020.


“After a long and hard-fought battle, the SDA has been successful in winning a penalty rate increase for casual employees after 6pm Monday to Friday, and a 25% penalty rate increase for all ordinary hours worked on a Saturday.”


“This win means that casual workers covered by the Retail Award will receive casual loading on top of penalty rate loadings for weeknights and Saturdays.”


“This will result in significant pay increases for over 350,000 hard-working retail employees on the Award and will have important flow effects for employees on enterprise bargaining agreements right across Australia’s retail sector.”


“These measures go some way to addressing the unjust treatment of casual workers under the Award who are not properly compensated for the absence of sick pay, annual leave and the insecurity of work.”


Mr Dwyer said that while the union movement was fighting to increase wages and working conditions for Australian workers, the business community continued its attempts to undermine the livelihoods of working people.


“While the union movement is fighting and winning pay increases for low income workers such as this, the business community seeks to destroy permanent jobs with schemes such as the recent ‘perma-flexi’ proposal.”


“The Reserve Bank and Federal Treasury have been clear in their assertions that historic low wage growth is a major handbrake on the Australian economy.”


“Australians need a pay rise, not a pay cut and business needs to get onboard.”


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