Retail Award changes to provide greater flexibility for small businesses

An agreement has recently been made between SDA, the union of retail workers in Australia, and Master Grocers Australia to make improvements to the Retail Award for the benefit of the recovering small businesses in the retail industry.

Supported by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA), these changes will allow retail businesses and workers to agree to increased hours for part-time workers that provide flexibility to businesses and security for part-time staff.

The proposed changes have been submitted to the Fair Work Commission for approval, including the provision of access to arbitration by both employers and workers.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has welcomed this agreement as it represents “significant progress” for small businesses that have long been “crying out” for greater flexibility as they are in the midst of the current recovery phase.

Carnell also noted that these changes to the Retail Award are in line with the perma-flexi classification policy of the ASBFEO.

“The agreed changes to the award are proof that better outcomes for business and workers are possible when parties approach the negotiating table with an open mind,” Carnell said.

“If approved, the revised award allows small businesses to offer more hours to their part-time employees, while also giving those existing staff members the opportunity to work more hours if they choose.

“Importantly, both small businesses and workers will have enforceable rights under the award, with access to arbitration through the Fair Work Commission,” Carnell added. “It is agreements like this that will give small businesses the confidence and flexibility they need to get back on their feet as part of the national economic recovery.”

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