17 March 2021 

The region’s peak business advocacy organisation, Business Illawarra, has today backed a proposal made to the Fair Work Commission by its parent organisation, Business NSW, to reform provisions of an award governing part-time employment in the retail sector.

The proposal is supported by research undertaken by Illawarra First member, the University of Wollongong, that provides a clear evidence base for why employers in the retail industry prefer to employ staff on a casual rather than part-time basis.

“Flexible work arrangements are crucial in the retail sector, with businesses experiencing significant peaks and troughs in demand in normal years, not to mention the significant disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Executive Director of Business Illawarra, Adam Zarth.

“The research provides clear evidence that retailers turn to casual employment arrangements out of sheer necessity, given the complexity of existing rules governing part-time employment.”

“Business Illawarra strongly supports measures to improve business conditions for retailers, who are by and large small to medium enterprises that simply do not have the resources to deal with the administrative complexity of certain modern award requirements.”

“Reform to out of date work place rules has never been more crucial than the present, as local businesses continue to recover from the impact of COVID-19 and the bushfires.”

“Part time employment provides greater security for employees and the Business NSW proposal to reform the inflexible rules under the General Retail Industry Award can deliver a win-win for employees and employers in the sector.”

The research was commissioned by Business NSW’s legal entity, Australian Business Lawyers & Advisers (ABLA) and has been filed with the Fair Work Commission as part of a proposal to vary the General Retail Industry Award 2010 (GRIA).