Changes made to Casual and Shift work loadings can have heavy impacts.

General Retail Award – important changes to Casual and Shift work loadings

“The Fair Work Commission has recently determined to make many changes to penalties and loadings from Casuals and Shift workers working nights and weekends. “

The changes commence operation from 1 November 2018.

The decision, handed down on 27 September, 2018, was a further aspect of the 4-yearly review of modern awards, which actually commenced in 2014. The changes will commence phasing in from 1 November, 2018, although the final determinations giving effect to the changes to the award, have yet to be finalised.

The decision made significant changes to the following employment conditions, and has the potential to heavily impact on the cost of using different types of employees at different times (e.g. casuals over permanents, shiftworkers over dayworkers, etc) –

  • Casual employees working after 6pm Monday to Friday – will receive an additional penalty to be progressively phased-in over a period ending 1 March 2021. The final penalty will be an additional 25% loading in addition to the standard 25% casual loading.
  • Casual employees working on a Saturday – the current additional 10% applying between 7am and 6pm, will initially become 15% for all hours worked on a Saturday, to be progressively increased to an eventual 25% (total 50% including casual loading), by 1 March 2020.
  • Full and Part-time Shiftworkers* on a Sunday – the current penalties will reduce, from the current 200% to an eventual 175% by 1 July 2020.
  • Casual Shiftworkers* working Sundays – the current penalties will also reduce, from the current 225%, to an eventual 200%, by 1 July 2020.

*Note a shiftworker provisions only apply to persons specifically employed as shiftworkers under the award. Shiftwork means a shift starting at or after 6.00 pm on one day and before 5.00 am on the following day, but does not include a shift which starts and finishes on the same day within the span of ordinary hours specified in the award. Call us if you need help to understand these provisions.

As the above changes are quite detailed and are to be phased in over a period of years, ER Strategies will be progressively supplying wage schedules which include the changes to rates, to simplify implementation.

However, we do not underestimate the ultimate effect of the relative changes in penalties between different classes of employees, where the retailer is open outside what might once have been considered ‘normal’ trading hours, such as Monday to Friday 7am to 6pm. Convenience store retailing will be particuarly affected by the change, as well as retailers opening for late trading Monday to Friday, where casual employees are engaged.

Final Determinations

Once the final determinations have been issued by FWC, ER Strategies will issue our amended wage schedules for those retailers covered by this award. Given the scope and complexity of the changes, we strongly recommend you check the final implementation schedule we provide before implementing the changes, in case further amendments or alterations are made. Impacts on overtime rate calculations will also need to be clarified.

We suggest that retailers affected by these changes make early contact with their payroll service providers (where they are used), to ensure the amended penalties are able to be implemented in time (i.e. by 1 November, 2018) for the first tranche of changes.


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