The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has submitted its response to the draft National Employment Standards (NES), which according to executive director Richard Evans will bring greater certainty and consistency to the retail sector.

“The Australian consumer demands retailers provide a seven day a week service with extended trading hours,” said Evans.

“Coupled with seasonal influences, this places pressure to establish a work hour regime providing certainty to the employee and guaranteed labour supply for the employer.”

The ARA’s submission deals with aspects directly impacting the retail sector including recommendations on maximum weekly hours, parental leave, annual leave and personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave.

“The averaging of hours is a critical requirement of flexible employment arrangements in an industry sector increasingly reliant on seasonal and changing consumer behaviour to drive demand for its services and products. The retail sector is one such industry which is compounded by a high mix of casualisation and part-time employment to complement its full-time employment arrangements.

“The preference of the ARA is to include as part of the NES, the ability to average hours of work over a period not exceeding 12 months. This will allow for maximum rostering flexibility for both employers and employees in the retail trade sector – consistent with the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard.”

The ARA’s submission complements the submission made by ACCI to the draft NES.