Modern award puts Sunday wages bill up $100m, say retailers

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Modern award puts Sunday wages bill up $100m, say retailers

The proposed modern retail award will add $100 million to Sunday wages bill alone, according to major retailers.

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The proposed modern retail award will add $100 million to Sunday wages bill alone, according to major retailers.
 
Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) CEO, Margy Osmond, said retailers are calling for the modern retail award to be rewritten to be consistent with the original government promise of no higher costs for employers.
 
‘Retailers want to retain their staff, but their capacity to protect jobs is being eroded by falling turnover and rising costs, which are outside their control,’ Margy Osmond said.
 
Higher costs
 
‘The Government promised that employers wouldn’t face higher costs as a result of award modernisation; however this is clearly not the case,’ she said.
 
‘Higher penalty rates will cost retailers $100 million a year, a cost equivalent to the salaries of 3300 retail workers.
 
‘There could be a risk that casual employees are priced out of the market. Casual loadings outside Victoria will rise by an average 13.4%.
 
‘This new award is due to be implemented in the middle of tough times — from 1 January next year.’
 
Osmond said the new retail award is not the only factor undermining retail jobs.
 
Call for payroll tax cut
 
She said ANRA is repeating its call for payroll tax to be cut to a standard 4% to help retailers who retain jobs.
 
‘Cutting payroll tax is the simplest, most cost-effective way to protect jobs,’ Osmond said.
 
‘This plan could protect up to 55,000 jobs nationwide. Through payroll tax, the states and territories impose a $16.7 billion tax on jobs. Businesses with as few as 10 employees are paying payroll tax.’
 
Osmond said other barriers putting the brakes on retailers and their capacity to create and retain jobs, included the impending consumer credit legislation and archaic trading hours rules.
 
‘Keeping people in jobs is the key to getting Australia through this economic downturn,’ she said.
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