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Changes to the General Retail Industry Award 2020

Published February 28, 2021 (last updated on February 28, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Content Writer


The Fair Work Commission has issued changes to the General Retail Industry Award 2020 (the Retail Award), which will take effect from the start of the first full pay period starting on or after 1 March 2021.

Since 2017, there have been gradual changes to penalty rates for the Restaurant, Hospitality, Pharmacy, Fast Food and Retail Awards.

The latest change to the Retail Award is the final change for this group of staggered changes.

What are the Changes?

The penalty rate for casual employees who aren’t shiftworkers and are working Monday to Friday evenings from 6 pm will increase by 5% to 150% from the first full pay period on or after 1 March. 

From 1 Nov 2018, when the rate was 130%, every four months this rate has increased by 5%. On 1 October 2020, this rate was at 145%; and one year previously from this change, on 1 March 2020, the rate was increased to 140%.

What’s the Difference Between Casual Employees and Shiftworkers?

This change only applies to casuals who aren’t shiftworkers; under this Award, you may employ a casual shiftworker.

To figure out if your casual employee is a shiftworker, you need to look at the times they work.

Under the Retail Award shiftwork for most employees can be defined as a span of work satisfying the following three conditions:

  • shifts starting between 6pm on one day and 5am the following day; where the hours worked are continuous; and where the hours worked do not include a shift which starts and finishes on the same day, within the span of ordinary hours specified in the award.

Baking Production Employees

The definition of shiftwork for baking production employees is different than for all other shiftworkers covered by this Award. For a baking production employee, shiftwork means a shift starting at or after midnight and before 6.00 am.

What Do Employers Do Now?

If your casual employee’s work falls out of the definition of shiftwork, then you must apply the updated penalty rate to ensure you are complying with your pay obligations.

If you need any assistance implementing or understanding this penalty rate increase, or if and how your employees, please get in touch with Employsure. We are happy to help you with free initial advice – or, if you’re a client, we can assist straightaway when you phone through.

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