Secondary school student employees will now be able to work 1.5 hour long shifts after school following a decision by Fair Work Australia to alter the General Retail Industry Award 2010.
Retailers have applauded the move which means young casuals can be rostered for a shorter period between 3pm and 6.30pm on school days if they are unavailable for or their employee can not offer a longer shift.
“The National Retail Association (NRA) congratulates Fair Work Australia for recognising the need to inject flexibility into the current retail award and give our young people a chance to get work experience, learn employability skills and develop a healthy work ethic,” says NRA executive director Gary Black.
“With one in two young people relying on the sector for a job, retailers shoulder the burden of transitioning our young people from school to work and providing them with critical employability skills for their later careers.”
Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman says the decision is also a win for students, but should have been made sooner because the modern award, which took effect in January this year, forced bosses to deny work to many students employed in the sector.
“Retailers and industry associations have been advocating for this common-sense ruling since the first applications were made in March last year, with FWA having its first opportunity to make changes that would save jobs for school students in July,” he says.
“Almost one year on, school students and retailers both have a workable outcome, which ensures students will still get a valuable start in the workforce. In the meantime, hundreds of school students across the country have lost their jobs.
“In an ARA survey of over 330 retailers in April 2010, 38 per cent of respondents said they would stop employing school students as a result of the limitations imposed by the three hour minimum shift requirement.” Zimmerman explains.
The changes take effect July 1, 2011.