Retail Award offers small businesses much-needed flexibility

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has welcomed an agreement between the SDA and Master Grocers Australia to make improvements to the Retail Award, which will help small businesses in their recovery efforts.

The changes, supported by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA), 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 reforms have been submitted to the Fair Work Commission for approval, including the provision of access to arbitration by both employers and workers.

Ms Carnell says the agreed changes to the Retail Award are in line with the perma-flexi classification policy long-held by her office.

“This agreement represents significant progress for small businesses that have been crying out for greater flexibility as they recover from the Covid crisis,” Ms Carnell says.

“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.

“Under the current system, employers are more likely to hire a casual worker when a staff member takes leave because giving existing staff additional hours comes at a far greater cost.

“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.

“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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