ARA knocks back calls for further holiday entitlements

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The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association’s (SDA) application calling for retailers to provide additional public-holiday entitlements has been defeated by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).

The application would have entitled full-time and five-days-per-week part-time employees to a day’s pay, a day off with pay, or a day added to their annual leave when a public holiday fell on their non-working day.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) decision to reject the SDA’s application is a great outcome for the industry as retailers are already struggling with rising cost pressures in an overwrought market.

“Although the SDA continues to add pressure to retailers already facing a volatile trading environment, the FWC has once again understood the serious implications this would have had for the industry and the overall economy,” Mr Zimmerman said.

The ARA strongly opposed the application last year, engaging its legal partners, FCB, to defend the application.

Mr Zimmerman says Australian retail workers already receive one of the highest penalty rates in the world, so the proposed additional entitlements would have had serious implications for retailers across the country, “not only crippling the retailers’ bottom line but also having an impact on their ability to open their doors seven days a week”.

“We’d like to thank those who assisted with this defence, and hope more progressive decisions like this one will bring further opportunities to employees and employers working in the sector,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Retail employees are a vital part of the industry, and the ARA will continue to support those working in the sector to ensure these workers – at all levels – are recognised and validated for their hard work in the industry.”