ARA goes head to head with SDA over penalty rates

Fighting for change.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) will strongly oppose any application from the SDA (Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association) for judicial review of the Sunday penalty rates decision.

The SDA has stepped up its campaign to protect penalty rates launching a multi-media advertising blitz including radio, print, outdoor and digital, backed by shopping centre activity, in key Federal marginal electorates across the country.

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association NSW secretary Bernie Smith, members Katrina Taylor and Tara Mann, McKell Institute executive director Sam Crosby and SDA member Ann Bridger. Photo credit: Danielle Cetinski

ARA Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman said the Sunday penalty rates decision was initially passed by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) as the evidence presented conclusively proved a reduction in penalty rates would increase employment rates across Australia and sustain economic growth.

“The Commission found that a reduction in Sunday penalty rates will allow retailers to extend trading hours, giving staff more hours to work and increase employment across the board,” Zimmerman said.

“Many consumers feel that retail stores are understaffed on Sundays, and now due to the reduced penalty rates retailers can cater to consumer needs by adding more people to the roster, improving their service to consumers and increasing hours for employees.”

The ARA will further challenge any attempt by the SDA to defer the implementation of the Sunday penalty rates decision until the application for judicial review has been determined.

“Retailers are already operating in a tough environment, and any delay to the implementation of the Sunday penalty rates decision will significantly delay the benefits to both employers and employees working in this sector,” he said.

The ARA will be working with its members and legal providers to strongly defend the Sunday penalty rates decision and ensure the changes to Sunday penalty rates are implemented from 1 July 2017. The applications for judicial review will be made after the Fair Work Commission has issued Orders on the transition for the Sunday penalty rate reduction, which the ARA expect will happen in late May 2017.

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