THE Australian Retail Association (ARA) has welcomed Fair Work Australia’s (FWA) decision to reduce the minimum shift requirements to 1.5 hours for secondary school students.
After the modern awards system forced employers to stop giving students short after-school shifts from January, ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman says the reversal will save jobs.
“Fair Work Australia has made a logical decision that will overturn limitations in the modern award that didn’t take into account the hours available between school finishing times and close of business,” says Zimmerman.
“The retail industry has traditionally been a willing contributor to giving school students their start in the workforce, the ability to gain an independent income and learn valuable skills beyond the classroom. Retailers take this social responsibility seriously and today retailers will be genuinely delighted to take on that role again.
“This is a win- win for students and retailers. It’s just a pity this decision wasn’t made any earlier.”
Zimmerman says the retail industry has lobbied against the ruling since it was first introduced to industry in March 2010, though the new FWA legislation wasn’t implemented until 2011.
“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,” he says.
“In an ARA survey of over 330 retailers in April 2010, 38 percent of respondents said they would stop employing school students as a result of the limitations imposed by the three hour minimum shift requirement.”
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