Stuck trying to work out how much to pay your staff?
Not sure what the right wages are at particular times?
Most employers and business owners just want to pay their employees the right rate of pay but are burdened with the difficulty of finding how to do this.
It can be hard to find the correct wages for staff who work either full-time, part-time or casually. It can also be complicated to work out pay for certain times such as late nights, weekends and on public holidays.
This website is simply to help employers access the information they need straight away, all in one place at the click of a button. Wages are updated when the rate of pay changes in accordance with rulings of the Fair Work Commission.
The following information sets out the current wages for employees employed under the General Retail Industry Award:
Applies from the first full pay period from 1 July 2017.
|PERMANENT EMPLOYEE HOURLY RATES||CASUAL EMPLOYEE HOURLY RATES|
& all day
|Percentage of Base Hourly Rate||100%||125%||195%||225%||125%||135%||195%|
|Retail Employee Level 1||$20.08||$25.10||$39.16||$45.18||$25.10||$27.11||$39.16|
|Retail Employee Level 2||$20.56||$25.70||$40.09||$46.26||$25.70||$27.76||$40.09|
|Retail Employee Level 3||$20.88||$26.10||$40.72||$46.98||$26.10||$28.19||$40.72|
|Retail Employee Level 4||$21.29||$26.61||$41.52||$47.90||$26.61||$28.74||$41.52|
|Retail Employee Level 5||$22.17||$27.71||$43.23||$49.88||$27.71||$29.93||$43.23|
|Retail Employee Level 6||$22.49||$28.11||$43.86||$50.60||$28.11||$30.36||$43.86|
|Retail Employee Level 7||$23.62||$29.53||$46.06||$53.15||$29.53||$31.89||$46.06|
|Retail Employee Level 8||$24.57||$30.71||$47.91||$55.28||$30.71||$33.17||$47.91|
Based on Level 1 rates - junior rates apply to all classifications
|LEVEL 1||PERMANENT EMPLOYEE HOURLY RATES||CASUAL EMPLOYEE HOURLY RATES|
|Age (percentage of |
Adult Base Hourly
& all day
|Under 16 years (45%)||$9.04||$11.30||$17.63||$20.34||$11.30||$12.20||$17.63||$22.60|
|16 years (50%)||$10.04||$12.55||$19.58||$22.59||$12.55||$13.55||$19.58||$25.10|
|At 17 years (60%)||$12.05||$15.06||$23.50||$27.11||$15.06||$16.27||$23.50||$30.13|
|At 18 years (70%)||$14.06||$17.58||$27.42||$31.64||$17.58||$18.98||$27.42||$35.15|
|At 19 years (80%)||$16.07||$20.09||$31.34||$36.16||$20.09||$21.69||$31.34||$40.18|
|At 20 years (90%)|
(Less than six months service)
|At 20 years (100%)|
(More than six months service)
What does each level mean?
Below is breakdown of each retail level. If you are unsure about what level applies to your staff, contact the Fair Work Ombudsman at www.fairwork.gov.au.
|Level 1||-Shop Assistant;|
-Video Hire Worker;
-Telephone Order Salesperson;
-Door-to-door Salesperson, and,
-Demonstrator and/or Merchandiser
|Level 2||-Forklift Operator;|
-Ride on Equipment Operator
|Level 3||-Supervisor/2IC to Section/Department Manager;|
-Person employed alone, responsibilities for the security and general running of a shop
|Level 4||-Tradesperson (including, Butcher, Baker, Florist, Pastry Cook);|
-Department Manager with up to 2 employees (including self);
-Supervisor of up to 4 sales staff;
-2IC Shop Manager of a shop without Departments
|Level 5||-A tradesperson in charge of other tradespersons within a section or department;|
-Service Supervisor (more than 15 employees)
|Level 6||-Assistant Manager of a shop with Departments/Sections|
-Department Manager with 5 or more employees (including self)
|Level 7||-Visual Merchandiser|
|Level 8||-Store Manager of a shop with Departments/Sections|
Permanent or casual?
Permanent employees work either full-time or part-time. They have a set roster and receive entitlements such as annual and sick leave.
Casual employees work on a more flexible basis and receive a 25% loading on top of the hourly rate of pay. They do not receive entitlements such as annual and sick leave. Each shift for casual employees must be a minimum of 3 hours, if the shift is under 3 hours, you must still pay the employee for 3 hours work. Casuals who are full-time School Students, can, with consent of a parent/guardian, work a minimum of 1.5 hours on a school day between 3pm and 6.30pm.
**This information is sourced from the Fair Work Commission.
Every effort is made to ensure this information is correct however, it is intended to be a guide only and it is not legal advice.
For more information visit www.fairwork.gov.au.
Fact check: Have 700,000 of the poorest-paid people received an effective pay cut?
Updated July 24, 2017 13:08:08
For months the Federal Opposition has been talking about cuts to penalty rates.
In February 2017, the Fair Work Commission decided to reduce minimum Sunday and public holiday rates for some award workers in the retail, pharmacy and hospitality industries.
The cuts began on July 1, 2017.
On ABC TV's Q&A program on June 26, 2017, the Opposition spokeswoman for justice Clare O'Neil said "on Sunday, in fact, this penalty rate cut will take effect – 700,000 of the poorest-paid people in the country are going to have an effective pay cut".
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and other Labor politicians have also used the 700,000 number, including on July 11 when Mr Shorten said: "If we get elected we will reverse the unilateral cuts to penalty rates covering 700,000 low paid Australian workers."
Is that the real story? RMIT ABC Fact Check takes a look.
Ms O'Neil's claim is fanciful.
700,000 people did not get an effective pay cut on July 1, 2017.
The 700,000 figure is based on an estimate of the number of people who work under the affected awards, prepared by the McKell Institute, a think tank named after former NSW Labor premier Sir William McKell.
It does not take into account how many of these people actually do or can work on a Sunday.
Even people who work for an employer that never opens on a Sunday are included in the 700,000 number.
And the 700,000 estimate itself may overstate the number of people on awards affected by changes to penalty rates.
Not all award workers in the hospitality industry will see a reduction in Sunday penalty rates – there is no change to Sunday rates for any worker on the Restaurant Industry Award or casuals on the Hospitality (General) Award.
Some employers may choose to pay above the award rate.
Ms O'Neil is on stronger ground when she describes award workers as "poorest-paid".
Compared to the workforce as a whole, workers on the affected awards are low paid.
However, whether or not a particular employee is among "the poorest-paid" based on the number of hours worked will depend on that worker's particular circumstances and work patterns.
What did the commission decide?
The Fair Work Commission (or FWC) has not lowered penalty rates across the board.
Under the Fair Work Act brought in by the Rudd Labor government in 2009, the FWC has to review modern awards every four years.
During the review process, some employer groups asked the FWC to vary penalty rates in certain awards
So in 2015 and 2016, the FWC reviewed the weekend and public holiday penalty rates in six hospitality and retail awards:
The Hospitality Industry Award covers venues such as hotels, tourist accommodation, casinos and restaurants operated as part of those venues, whereas the Restaurant Award covers non-hotel restaurants including reception centres, nightclubs, cafés, roadhouses and catering services provided by those businesses.
The FWC says that the hearing on penalty rates took 39 days, it heard evidence from 143 people and considered almost 6000 written submissions.
The decision was handed down on February 23, 2017.
No change was made to penalty rates for workers under the Registered and Licensed Clubs Award.
For other workers, the outcome for Sunday penalty rates was:
- Reduced penalty rates for all workers under the Fast Food, General Retail and Pharmacy awards;
- Reduced penalty rates for permanent workers under the Hospitality Industry (General) award;
- No change to Sunday penalty rates under the Restaurant award or for casual workers under the Hospitality Industry (General) award.
The outcome on public holiday rates was:
- Reduced penalty rates for permanent workers under the Restaurant award.
- Reduced penalty rates for all workers under the Hospitality Industry (General), General Retail, Fast Food and Pharmacy awards.
- No change for casual workers under the Restaurant award.
Award pay rates are the minimum rate that an employer has to pay a worker in a particular category or role: an employer can pay more or keep higher levels of penalty rates if they wish to do so.
Transition arrangements mean that the changes to Sunday rates are being phased in over a period of three or four years (depending on the award and employment status).
For instance, on July 1, the penalty rate under the Hospitality Industry (General) award for permanent employees was reduced from 175 per cent to 170 per cent. The full reduction to 150 per cent will not be in place until July 1, 2019.
Changes to public holiday penalty rates were effective in full from July 1, 2017.
Where does the figure come from?
Ms O'Neil's office tells Fact Check that her claim is based on "independent data".
The 700,000 number comes from a February 25, 2017 report produced by McKell Institute (a self-described "progressive research institute" with many senior staff associated with the Australian Labor Party).
The report, entitled "The Impact of the FWC's February 23 Sunday Penalty Rates Decision", found that "up to 681,378 Australians are currently working under awards that are subject to the proposed changes across the retail, hospitality and fast food sectors."
External Link: This is not the first time Ms O'Neil has made the claim. She also made it on ABC TV's Q&A in February, 2017.
Ms O'Neil has taken the number of 681,378 people that features in the McKell report and added 28,149 pharmacy workers, to obtain a total of 709,527 people who will have "an effective pay cut."
Even if it is accepted that Ms O'Neil has accurately calculated the figure of 700,000 people, the report does not say that this many people will get a pay cut.
This number only estimates the total people who work under a particular award, not how many work on a Sunday (or public holiday).
It includes people who never work on Sunday, either by choice or the fact that their employer does not open or need them.
For instance, an award worker in a retail outlet that only operates Monday to Friday would be one of these 700,000 people, but they are no worse off as a result of the penalty rate change.
Chris Oliver, an employment and industrial relations lawyer at law firm People + Culture Strategies, tells Fact Check:
"There is data in the FWC decision suggesting there are 700,000 award reliant workers in the hospitality and retail sectors, but the data also indicates that, on average, only around 54% of award workers across both sectors actually work on weekends."
"The figure is likely to fall further when you consider that this data includes all weekend workers, not just those working Sundays," he says.
Edward Cavanough, manager of policy at the McKell Institute and author of its report, would not comment on whether the report's findings support Ms O'Neil's claim.
How reliable is the 700,000 figure?
Fact Check finds that the estimates close to the 700,000 figure in the McKell report may in themselves be overstated.
The figures are based on an estimate of total people in a particular industry who are not on a collective agreement, without subtracting the numbers who are on awards that were not affected by the FWC decision.
This means that the report calculates the number of affected hospitality workers by taking a total figure of 515,820 hospitality industry employees and assuming that 75 per cent of them are reliant on the award.
Related Story: Fact check: Is wages growth now the lowest since records began?
But Sunday penalty changes do not apply to all types of hospitality workers: casuals and most restaurant workers (who are on the Restaurant Industry award) are not affected.
And the Australian Bureau of Statistics survey on "Employee Earnings and Hours", which was used by the FWC, found that 42.7 per cent (not 75 per cent) of workers in the Accommodation and Food Services industry are paid under an award.
Similarly, the number of potentially affected retail workers is calculated by taking 681,384 retail employees and assuming that 45 per cent of them are on the award.
But the FWC's own Award Reliance Survey (as noted in paragraph  of the FWC decision) indicates that 34.5 per cent (not 45 per cent) of retail employees are award reliant, and out of these only 74.3 per cent work under an award impacted by the FWC decision.
Of course there remains the fundamental issue that the numbers do not take into account the proportion of workers that actually work on Sundays.
What other estimates are there?
Other attempts have been made to estimate the number of award workers who work on a Sunday.
In a piece for The Conversation, the University of Melbourne's Dr Josh Healy applied Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates of people who work on Sundays and/or work on varying days (and so may be a Sunday worker) and came up with a figure of 355,000 people potentially affected.
In the same article, Rebecca Cassells of Curtin University used numbers from Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey and reached an even lower figure of 217,270.
Related Story: Fact check: Does the minimum wage increase unemployment?
But again neither of these estimates take into account the fact that Restaurant Award workers and casual workers on the Hospitality (General) Award are unaffected by the changes.
Dr Healey tells Fact Check "None of Australia's labour force surveys include information about specific award coverage anymore."
"They refer to industry and or occupation of employment, which are overlapping categories in some cases but generally not perfect matches," he says.
The Government has not helped its case.
The day after the FWC's decision in February 2017, Prime Minister Turnbull appeared to support Labor's claim in an interview on Melbourne radio 3AW.
"There are many hundreds of thousands, about 600,000 I think, workers who will receive less on Sundays", he said.
However, by March 2017, in a submission to the FWC, the Government estimated that the number of affected would be between 300,000 and 450,000 people.
All of these calculations can only ever be estimates.
Professor Mark Wooden of the University of Melbourne tells Fact Check "Given the broad assumptions made, the 700,000 figure is not credible and far too high, but no one really knows what the net effect will be."
"While many workers will get a cut in pay per hour, some of these workers will get an increase in hours worked, offsetting some of their reduction in total pay, and still other workers who don't currently work on Sundays will now be offered work on Sunday."
Will pay actually be cut?
The award system sets the minimum that employers have to pay for a certain role, but there is nothing stopping employers paying above the award rate or keeping higher penalties in place.
This is acknowledged by the Australian Council of Trade Unions, which is running a campaign that highlights "supportive businesses" who do not cut penalties.
Dr Geni Dechter of the University of New South Wales School of Economics tells Fact Check:
"Undoubtedly, some workers will be hurt by the change in policy.
But not every employer will necessarily reduce wage in response to the policy change. For some jobs, paying higher wages on weekends might be justified by the market conditions and not driven by government regulation."
But lawyer Chris Oliver suggests this is likely to be the exception rather than the rule. He tells Fact Check:
"Certainly there are employers in hospitality and retail who pay above the award, and some may decide to keep penalty rates at the level they have been in the past.
In addition, employers who have entered into contracts with employees that specify rates of pay may be unable to reduce these rates.
However in my experience, the retail and hospitality industries operate on low margins and it's likely that most small and medium business employers will pass the rate cut on."
External Link: A 7:30 story on the Fair Work Commission's decision to cut penalty rates.
Even if the penalty rates are passed on, they may not be felt by workers in the short term.
This is because a scheduled rise in ordinary rates of pay by 3.3 per cent occurred on July 1 for all of the awards impacted by the FWC decision.
So, depending on when someone works, they may end up better off, at least until the next financial year.
Are these workers the poorest paid?
Ms O'Neil's assertion about "poorest-paid people" is based on the simple fact that the award is the minimum legal wage for a role in a particular industry.
It is fair to say that some of the people working under these awards are among the "poorest paid" in Australia.
Mr Oliver tells Fact Check:
"The Fair Work Commission considers a worker to be low paid if they earn less than two-thirds of median full-time Australian wage.
In their decision on penalty rates, the commission concludes that workers dependent on these awards are 'low-paid'."
But whether someone is the "poorest-paid" will depend on factors including the job classification, age, time of work and casual status.
Lowest and highest paid (non-introductory) permanent adult rates of pay (as at July 1, 2017)
|Award||Classification||Hourly pay rate (ordinary hours of work)||Hourly rate (Saturday)||Hourly rate (Sunday)|
|Hospitality Industry (General) Award||Level 1 food and beverage attendant grade 1||$18.81||$23.51||$31.98|
|Managerial staff – hotel||$23.27||$29.09||$39.56|
|Restaurant Industry Award||Level 1 – food and beverage attendant grade 1||$18.81||$23.51||$28.22|
|Level 6 – cook grade 5 (tradesperson)||$23.23||$29.04||$34.84|
|General retail industry award||Retail employee level 1||$20.08||$25.10||$39.16|
|Retail employee level 8||$24.57||$30.71||$47.91|
|Fast food industry award||Level 1||$20.08||$25.10||$29.12|
|Level 3 – in charge of 2 or more persons||$21.88||$27.35||$32.82|
|Pharmacy industry award||Pharmacy assistant - level 1||$20.08||$25.10||$39.16|
The current minimum wage in Australia is $18.29.
A worker who regularly receives the lowest weekday rate of pay in the hospitality industry earns close to the minimum wage.
However, if that same worker only works part-time on a Sunday, they earn around $30 an hour.
A Level 1 retail employee gets paid almost $40 an hour on Sunday, while a worker on the highest level of the Pharmacy Award receives $64 an hour on Sunday.
- ABC Q&A, June 27, 2017
- Bill Shorten Twitter, March 13, 2017
- Fair Work Ombudsman, Modern Awards factsheet
- Fair Work Act 2009, s 156
- Fair Work Commission, 4 yearly review of modern awards - Penalty Rates (Decision), February 23, 2017
- Fair Work Commission, 4 yearly review of mdoern awards - Penalty Rates (Summary), February 23, 2017
- Fair Work Commission, 4 yearly review of modern awards - Transition arrangements (Summary), June 5, 2017
- McKell Institute, "The Impact of the Fair Work Commission's February 23 Sunday Penalty Rate Decision", February 25, 2017
- McKell Insitute, 'Our People'
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, 6306.0: Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia, May 2016
- The Conversation, "FactCheck: will 700,000 workers be 'ripped off' by penalty rate cuts, as Bill Shorten said?"
- Malcolm Turnbull, interview with Neil Mitchell 3AW, February 24, 2017
- Australian Government Submission to the FWC concerning 4 yearly reveiw of modern awards, March 24, 2017
- Fair Work Ombudsman, "Get set for a 3.3% increase to minimum wages"
- Fair Work Ombudsman, Minimum Wages factsheet, July 2017
- Fair Work Ombudsman, Pay Guide - Fast Food Award 2010, 2017-18
- Fair Work Ombudsman, Pay Guide - Pharmacy Industry Award 2010, 2017-18
- Fair Work Ombudsman, Pay Guide - Restaurant Industry Award 2010, 2017-18
- Fair Work Ombudsman, Pay Guide - General Retail Industry Award 2010, 2017-18
- Fair Work Ombudsman, Pay Guide - Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010, 2017-18
Topics:alp, industrial-relations, australia
First posted July 24, 2017 06:50:51
What is a modern award?
- An award provides "pay rates and conditions of employment such as leave entitlements, overtime and shift work, amongst other workplace related conditions"
- There are 122 national awards covering particular industries or occupations.
- Awards set the minimum wage for a worker covered by that award.