Retail Employers Should Assess Their Need For Extra Casuals Over Christmas, As Evening Penalty Rates Rise

Published September 30, 2020 (last updated January 25, 2022) -
retail industry employer must pay employees more money with changes to the retail award

Business owners who employ casual workers are being urged to consider how many staff they roster on, and when, over the Christmas period as evening penalty rates increase.

From tomorrow, the evening penalty rate for casuals covered by the General Retail Industry Award will increase from 140% to 145%. It will only affect casuals who work shifts between 6PM and 9PM Monday to Friday.

Depending on the classification of the employee, the hourly rate will increase from as low as $1.07, to as high as $1.31. However, the rate changes won’t impact permanent employees.

“We are now approaching the back-end of what has been a terrible year for small business owners thanks to COVID-19. As we look ahead to the Christmas period, these next few months could be an expensive time for employers considering rostering more casual workers,” said Ed Mallett, Managing Director of Employsure, Australia’s largest workplace relations advisor.

“Employers need to take a proactive approach and make adjustments to staff and their pay accordingly, to ensure they aren’t incurring unnecessary costs by employing casual staff in more expensive periods.”

The Federal Government has predicted one in 10 Australian workers will be unemployed by Christmas, as wage subsidies like JobKeeper come to an end for many businesses.

Mr Mallett believes the changes, coupled with Australia’s complex industrial relations system, will lead to confusion among SMEs when paying staff. In light of the changes it would be prudent for businesses to review their operations and see if increased costs can be avoided.

“Australia’s industrial relations system is tough, for businesses of all types and sizes. This year alone, Employsure Advisers will take 267,000 calls from concerned and confused business owners wanting help to meet their workplace obligations.

“These changes will undoubtedly lead to more challenges small business owners will need to learn to overcome. With changes to modern awards happening so regularly, it’s no wonder SMEs struggle to get payments right.

“Complexity breeds a lack of confidence, when simplicity is what we need at the moment. Workplace relations legislation should be the framework that enables business growth, not prohibits it,” concluded Mr Mallett.


Further enquiries:

Matthew Bridges

[email protected]


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