South Australia’s Saturday penalty rates will be abolished and Sunday rates cut in half as a result of a landmark agreement between the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA).
The move is being called a win for the state’s businesses and employees, which are said to benefit from guaranteed pay rises and improved rostering and shift breaks.
“The SDA has always been willing to negotiate with fair-minded employers provided it doesn’t leave workers worse off, and this template agreement demonstrates how this can be done successfully for small retailers,” SDA official Peter Malinauskas said.
The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) was quick to commend the agreement, which they say will result in better conditions for employees.
“Changes like this allow businesses to respond to their customers needs, rather than having to try to fit their allocation of labour to an antiquated system,” ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said.
“There is a real opportunity here to support the struggling retail sector and stimulate jobs growth. In order to create more employment opportunities for Australians, retail wages need to be flexible.”
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) also made their support heard, saying that penalty rates have long impeded retailers from opening at certain hours and therefore slowing growth in the workforce.
“The deal can help reboot South Australia’s retail sector and stimulate jobs growth, particularly among the large pool of unemployed young people. I encourage small retailers and their employees across South Australia to seriously consider if this template agreement is right for them,” Kate Carnell AO, CEO of the ACCI, said.
“This deal can provide a workable example for other employers and unions across the country keen to overcome the barrier to growth posed by penalty rates. We are hopeful agreements like this can flow across Australia.”