Are you short changing your employees?

BY Australian Retailers Association
28 June 2016

It has been a busy start to the year for the Fair Work Ombudsman with underpayments and Award compliance being specifically targeted. An astounding $22.3 million was reportedly recovered for 11,613 underpaid workers last financial year, and 2016 is shaping up as no different.

The media has been flooded with numerous examples of blatant non-compliance including a Japanese-style fast food outlet who allegedly short-changed five overseas workers more than $150,000, a Melbourne retail outlet who allegedly underpaid three female shop assistants more than $90,000 and a Sydney restaurant business that was ordered to back-pay 11 employees almost $65,000.

ARA members are reminded of their obligation to ensure that all employees receive their minimum pay and entitlements, including the following allowances that may be payable under the General Retail Industry Award 2010.

Special clothing allowance:

An employee who is required to launder any special uniform, dress or other clothing must be paid 6.25 per week (for a full-time employee) or $1.25 per shift (for a part-time or casual employee).

Higher duties allowance:

This applies where an employee who is required to perform duties carrying a higher rate of pay than their ordinary classification; such as a sales assistant who is required to open and close the store.

A retail employee who is required to perform duties carrying a higher classification must be paid the higher rate of pay for the duration of the shift where they are required to perform such higher duties for more than two hours during one day. Where they are only required to perform such higher duties for two hours or less during a shift, they are entitled to the higher rate of pay for the time spent performing these higher duties.

Travelling time reimbursement:

An employee who is required to work at a place away from their usual place of employment must be paid travelling time and also any fares reasonably incurred in excess of those normally incurred in travelling between their home and their usual place of employment. The rate of pay for travelling time will be the ordinary time rate except on Sundays and Public Holidays when it will be time and a half.

More information on employment relations

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Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit or call 1300 368 041.

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