Shop Trading hours: what you need to know
Most members are well aware that the Queensland parliament has recently changed trading hours throughout Queensland. This change was not necessary as there was no discernible demand from customers and retailers and we suspect no new jobs will be created as a result of these changes. We know consumers only have so much money to spend each week and by extending trading hours, it simply spreads the spend over a longer period of time.
Once I knew that the government had resolved to change the trading hours after the first review in almost two decades had been completed, I met with senior cabinet ministers so that major protections could be won for SDA members. I sought to ensure the extensions were kept to a minimum to provide a reasonable work/life balance for our members and retail workers and their families. Our lobbying was successful on three major fronts and these protections are an integral part of the legislation.
The three protections are:
- An employer must not require an employee to work during extended hours unless the employee has freely elected to work during extended hours. Elect means each individual employee must agree in writing for a stated or indefinite period. This does not mean that the employee elects to work during extended hours because that same employee has been coerced, harassed, threatened or intimidated by or for the employer. If you don’t want to work the additional hours for a stated or indefinite period simply say NO!
- As part of the legislation, there can be no application by retailers to extend trading hours for at least 5 years. The SDA welcomes this aspect of the legislation as it gives all members a far better work/life balance when compared to other states. (The only exception to this is for significant international events the Government may legislate for a defined period of the event for extended trade in a specified area).
- The legislation also includes an additional criterion that if there is a change to trading hours after the 5 year moratorium that this change has to be mindful of the effect on employees. This is important for future trading hours applications because it strengthens our ability to defend the rights of our members.
There is no doubt in my mind that if the union was not involved in representing the interests of SDA members in this important trading hours matter, the outcome would have been far worse. We could have ended up with 24 hours, 7 days a week trade which occurs in another State of Australia.