February 15, 2018 Coles Update

Over the three months from July to September 2017 the SDA negotiated to get the best possible agreement from Coles Supermarkets on wages and working conditions.  The Agreement will give SDA members wage increases and security of their working conditions.

Your SDA Queensland Shop Stewards were given a detailed briefing over five hours on Wednesday 24 January 2018 with lots of questions.  SDA Queensland Shop Stewards overwhelmingly endorsed the proposed new Coles agreement as being in the best interests of SDA members at Coles Supermarkets.

SDA Organisers have been out in stores giving briefings to team members in Coles Supermarkets.

Benefits of the new agreement include:

  1. Protects Take Home Pay

All existing employees have their take home pay protected and receive a share of the wage increases.  No one gets a wage cut.

  1. Improves Penalty Rates

The penalty rate on a Sunday will be higher than the existing 50%.

New penalty rates are introduced for working on Saturday – 25% (casuals 35%)

New penalty rates are introduced for permanent employees for work after 6pm Monday to Friday – 25%.

The SDA is arguing a case in the Fair Work Commission for higher casual rates on Saturdays and for work after 6pm Monday to Friday.  If we win the case it will also apply to casuals at Coles.

  1. Secures Hard Won Conditions Above the Award

There are many working conditions in our Coles Agreement better than the working conditions in the General Retail Industry Award.  Two which are significant are voluntary work on public holidays and a higher level of redundancy pay.

The SDA has protected most of the over-award working conditions in the proposed new enterprise agreement.

  1. Pay Rises For Everyone

The SDA has won pay rises for everyone under the proposed new agreement including any employees who are saved under the top up scheme.

Frequently Asked Questions

There has been some confusion and some misinformation on some issues which we want to clarify.

  1. I saw a new pay rate of $20.55 – is my pay going down?

No. The proposed Agreement ensures that no one’s pay goes down. Each week existing employees will be paid the higher weekly pay amount of either the new rate with penalties or your protected pay rate (that is based on your current base rate of pay and your earnings for the last 12 months). Your pay will not go down but may go up.

  1. Will my pay go up?

Yes. Everyone’s pay will go up on 1 July each year.

Many people’s pay will go up sooner when the new Agreement starts because of their protected pay rate or because of the new rates with penalties. No one’s pay will go backwards.

Employees employed by Coles before 30 June 2017 will also receive a one off cash payment if the proposed Agreement is approved by team members voting yes. The one off cash payment is $475 for full-time employees and pro rata for part-time and casual employees. If approved this is payable on 23 March 2018.

  1. How long will my meal breaks be?

All meal breaks continue to be between 30 minutes and 60 minutes.

  1. Am I losing my second rest break?

No.  The proposed agreement gives you a second 15 minute rest break when your shift is 7 hours or more. Unfortunately the Coles communication contained an error.

The table below sets out the rest breaks and meal breaks that would apply under the proposed new agreement:

Hours worked Rest break (paid) Meal break (unpaid)
Less than 4 hours
4 hours to 5 hours 15 minute rest break
5 hours to less than 7 hours 15 minute rest break 30 – 60 minute meal break
7 hours to less than 10 hours 2 x 15 minute rest break 30 – 60 minute meal break
10 hours or more 2 x 15 minute rest break 2 x 30 – 60 minute meal break
  1. Will I lose hours to new employees who don’t have top up payments?

No. There are several protections for existing employees hours:

  • Part-time employees base contract hours cannot be reduced under the proposed new Agreement, so part-time employees cannot lose hours. In fact, there is a capacity for part-time employees to increase their base hours each year if you have been doing regular extra hours.
  • The top up payments are calculated and administered centrally separate to your stores budget. The way the new Agreement is designed means that for the store budget all employees on the same classification will cost the store the same amount, whether you are eligible for top up payments or not. As the top up payments do not impact on stores budgets or management bonuses there is no incentive to move hours to other employees. The top up payments mean that all existing employees’ pay is protected and cannot go down.
  • Roster changes cannot occur without first consulting you. The proposed new Agreement also has a clause that prevents the Company changing your roster to avoid a benefit, including the benefit of top-up payments.
  1. What is happening with split shifts and part-time hours?

The General Retail Industry Award does not have split shifts for part-time employees.  Therefore, it is not legally possible to have split shifts in any future enterprise agreement.

However, benefits for part-time employees in the new agreement include:

  • Part-time hours cannot be cut except by agreement. The 20% cut in hour hours is abolished.
  • There is an opportunity for part-time employees once a year to increase their hours based on the average over the previous 12 months.
  • The company is required to consult with employees before making any roster changes
  • Roster changes cannot be made so as to avoid any award entitlements
  1. Will I still receive another paid day off if a public holiday falls on my non working day (the non working day benefit)?

The SDA has argued a detailed case in the Fair Work Commission to win the non working day benefit in the General Retail Industry Award for full-time employees and five day a week part-time employees.  We are awaiting a decision.

The non working day benefit will apply to Coles Supermarkets employees if we win the case for the non working day benefit in the General Retail Industry Award.  It depends on us winning the case in the Commission.

  1. If I choose not to work on a public holiday do I need to take a day of annual leave?

No.  You do not need to use a day of annual leave.

All work on a public holiday is voluntary and permanent employees are entitled to take the day off with pay.

The only time you need to make up the hours is if you are rostered to work after 6pm on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve and you elect to take time off (subject to adequate staffing levels).  The Christmas Eve/New Year’s Eve provision is a special provision which does not exist in the General Retail Industry Award.

  1. Will every team member get a $475 bonus if we vote in favour of the agreement and what is the reason for the bonus?

If Coles Supermarkets employees vote in favour of the proposed new agreement, there will be a bonus of $475 for full-time employees and a proportionate amount based on hours worked for part-time and casual employees.  You need to have been employed by Coles Supermarkets as of 30 June 2017 and continue being employed to be eligible to receive it.

The bonus recognises that there has not been a wage increase since July 2016.

10. Are Night fill employees defined as Shift Workers and what rate of pay do they receive for working outside of Ordinary Hours?

Currently no Team Member is a shift worker as they have to be specifically employed as a shift worker at the point of engagement. The below table provides the penalty rates for working outside of Ordinary Hours in the proposed new Coles Agreement:


Permanent Casual (inc casual loading)
Mon – Sat 6pm-11pm 25% 25%
Mon – Sat before 7am & after 11pm 50% for 3 hours

100% after

75% for 3 hours

125% after

Saturday 7am – 6pm 25% 35%
Saturday 11pm – 9am Sunday 50% until midnight

100% midnight to 9am

75% until midnight

125% midnight to 9am

Sunday 11pm – 7am Monday 100% until midnight

50% for the next 2 hours

100% until end of shift

125% until midnight

75% for the next 2 hours

125% until end of shift

To vote online, go to

To vote over the phone, call 1300 830 642.