Retailers ‘confused’ over modern award pay rates

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Retailers ‘confused’ over modern award pay rates

Confusion over the first phase of the modern award is at an all time high among retailers, according to an industry body.

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Confusion over the first phase of the modern award is at an all time high among retailers, according to an industry body.
 
The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said retailers were struggling to understand exactly what they need to pay staff from today.
 
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said calls to ARA’s employment relations telephone advisory service in June were four times higher than a typical month as retailers tried to comply with their new wage obligations.
 
Complexity
 
‘While the phase-in of the modern award spreads [the] wage bill increase over five years, it also adds to the complexity of calculating wage payments,’ Zimmerman said.
 
‘Without turning to experts for help, retailers are struggling to understand just what they need to pay their staff.’
 
‘Over the past month and even more so in the last couple of days, out of all the questions we receive from retailers the clear stand-out queries relate to new base rates of pay, casual loadings, penalties and allowances. There’s a lot of confusion out there.’
 
Zimmerman said the five-year incremental transition between old state-based awards and the modern award system is a highly complex process.
 
Lot to consider
 
‘There is a lot for employers to consider,’ he said.
 
‘It’s not only the phase-in of the new General Retail Industry Award rates, penalties and loadings beginning this week, it’s also the phase-out of all the state-based award entitlements and the $26 per week increase to minimum wage.’
 
‘Most retailers don’t have the in-house employment relations support needed to ensure they meet their obligations and they’re relying on employer associations to take the headache out of modern award transitions.’
 
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