In 2019, the Australian retail industry achieved a turnover of $AU329.6 billion, making it one of the largest industries in the country. There are almost 140,000 retail businesses in Australia, employing approximately 1.2 million people. This accounts for 10.7% of all employment, a large number of Australians are covered under the retail award. 

About the Retail Award

The General Retail Industry Award [MA000004], is a comprehensive set of pay rules maintained by the Fair Work Commission. It advises employers of the minimum entitlements they must provide employees. The retail award covers the specific pay rates, allowances and rules relating to all employees working in the Australian retail industry. Examples of those covered under the award include employees working in food retailing, supermarkets, grocery stores, department stores, clothing and recreational goods retailing amongst other types of businesses. A full definition of the scope of the award can be found here under “3. Definitions and interpretations”.

Limitations of The Award System

Australia has 122 Modern Awards, with the average Award having between 180-200 individual rules. These rules are  comprehensive, covering overtime hours for weekdays and weekends, RDO overtime, public holidays and late-night shifts. While the award system does provide a set of instructions for employers, many are finding that the increasing complexity of entitlements is proving difficult to keep track of. 

Historically, business owners and managers have used the Fair Work Commission’s calculator to manually look up entitlements for each employee, before entering the rates into their payroll system. However, the more staff you have, the more time consuming and complex this process becomes. A 2019 study by the Australian HR Institute revealed that 33% of Aussie businesses admitted to making errors on every single monthly pay run. With 241 individual rules and classifications within the General Retail Award, it’s no surprise that errors are a frequent occurrence. 

Read more: Why is it so hard to pay people correctly in 2020?

Retail award rates

Below are the minimum rates for the various levels of employment. The current rule set came into effect on the 1st of July 2020. Additional changes are scheduled for the award on the 1st of February 2021, where employees will be required to revise their rates to reflect the updated entitlements. 

retail award rate

Automatically Calculate the Retail Award Rate

With many Australian business owners unable to manually calculate the growing list of entitlements, automatic award interpretation software has become the new industry standard. 

Within Tanda, our award engine automatically adds compliant pay rates to your rosters and timesheets, including base rates, overtime, allowances, and higher duties. All managed awards, including the retail award, have built-in base rates that sync with payroll and update on staff birthdays or when Fair Work mandates change. This means that award rates are updated in accordance with all future Fair Work changes and birthdate rollovers for employees, keeping businesses compliant without constantly monitoring Fair Work’s site for updates to complex rule sets.

retail award rate