The Fair Work Commission (FWC) Full Bench has decided to remove the higher-level junior rates of pay under the General Retail Industry Award 2020 (GRIA). This will mean that the adult rate will apply to all juniors at levels 4 to 8 inclusive.
This was a decision as a part of the 4-yearly review of modern awards. The application by the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) sought to delete all junior rates apart from level 1, claiming that when the GRIA was made it wrongly allowed junior wage rates for all classification levels. The SDA argued that at the higher levels the retail employees are recognised as having the skills and competencies necessary and the adult rate should apply irrespective of age.
The FWC rejected the SDA approach because their argument was not “cogent” and lacked any evidence based on work value.
However, the FWC agreed to delete retail employee junior wages for levels 4 to 8 inclusive to rectify an anomaly “justified by work value reasons, in particular, the level of skill involved in doing the work when compared to equivalent classification levels in other modern awards”.
Crucially for Retail employers, junior rates will continue to apply to levels 1 to 3. ER Strategies anticipates that the coming change will not affect many employers because it is likely, given the skills and ability of employees at levels 4 to 8 (or they are aged 20 years with 6 months or more service), they may already be receiving adult rates of pay in any event.
The change will come into effect from 1 May 2021.
It is recommended that clients review the rates of pay of any juniors engaged at level 4 or higher prior to the change to ensure they do not inadvertently underpay such employees after 1 May.
ER Strategies will provide a revised wage schedule for the GRIA for clients closer to this time and a free download will be available via the ER Strategies website.
Getting Our Help
If you have any questions or need assistance with any employee claims or complaints, we encourage you to call ER Strategies on 1300 55 66 37.