Some thoughts from your friendly SDA Organisers

March 11, 2022 News

Each month, we visits hundreds of workplaces and we thought we would write some recent issues which have reared their ugly head in different workplaces.

Use it…or lose it

The terms and conditions in your Enterprise Agreement have been won through extensive campaigns and negotiations.

As such, they are always at risk of being altered, downgraded or removed entirely.

To ward against such actions, these entitlements must be utilised in terms of the Agreement. For example, if a tea break entitlement exists, it must be taken.

Noncompliance is a breach of the Agreement.

In future negotiations, it could be proved by the employer that “people don’t use it so it should be removed”.

We don’t want that to happen. Be aware of the entitlements under your Agreement and use them where appropriate.

Just sign this…..

We are often asked by members whether they should or must sign a piece of paper which has been ‘put under their nose’ by management.

Our answer is always the same. “Would you sign a document outside of work if a complete stranger put the same document before you”?

In this circumstance, the member would want to read the document and if need be, get a second opinion on whether it would be a good idea or not to sign the document.

Similarly, at work, it is common sense that the first step a member should take would be to read the document. If, for example, the document said that you went to a meeting and nothing more, then it would be fine to indicate that you attended the meeting.

However, if you were asked to immediately sign a document that you felt uncomfortable with, we would strongly advise members that you do not sign the document until you have had an opportunity to read the document and if need be, seek the advice of your SDA Shop Steward, Delegate or Organiser.

You are fired!

Have you ever thought what would happen if you lost your job? What about your bills, loan repayments rent, your lifestyle?

While dismissal in the retail industry is not a regular occurrence, it does happen. And after the shock and disappointment, the employee often wonders if there is any recourse especially if the dismissal seems harsh and unfair.

Help is only a phone call away.

If you do find yourself in this unfortunate position, you must contact the SDA immediately. We can advise you on your options and, if necessary, make an unfair dismissal claim against your employer.

Timing is critical, however, and claims must be lodged as soon as possible after the dismissal.

We can’t always guarantee that we can get your job back. However, it’s good to know that we’ll try our hardest and exhaust all legal channels, FREE of charge, to get the best result for our members.

Part-time versus Casual employment

Most members start work as a casual employee in our industries. Before too long, many are asked whether they would be interested in part-time work or continuing on as a casual employee.

Many members ask a work colleague, their SDA representative or their parents for guidance on this important consideration whilst others ring the union office for assistance.

Listed below are some of the major differences between part-time and casual employment:
Part-time employment

Members are given a roster which has a guaranteed minimum number of hours.

These rosters cannot be changed week in week out. If this happens, the member should be paid as a casual employee.
Members are entitled to 4 weeks paid annual leave per annum, 17.5% annual leave loading. paid sick leave and family leave, paid compassionate leave etc.

Members are entitled to Notice, Severance Pay and Redundancy Entitlements.

Part-time employment is permanent employment and as such, has greater job security when compared with casual employment.

Casual Employment

By its very nature, casual employment can vary from week to week.
Casual employment is daily employment.

Most Casual members receive a 25% loading. Therefore, if a part-time employee’s hourly rate is $20.00, the casual employee will be paid $20.00 x 1.25 which equates to $25.00 per hour.

SDA Advice

Because part-time employment provides a guaranteed minimum number of hours each week and greater job security, the Union has always maintained that part-time employment is preferable when compared with casual employment. The guaranteed minimum number of hours provides added income security which is very important to all members.
It is also important to note that lending institutions are more inclined to lend money to a part-time employee as opposed to a casual employee.

Work and Study

Every week, many younger members juggle their study and work commitments. At times, this can be quite difficult. As we have recently commenced the scholastic year, members are reminded that most Enterprise Agreements contain specific provisions relating to study and work commitments.

Because each Enterprise Agreement is company-specific, it is advisable to read the appropriate clause contained in your Agreement. Your Shop Steward has a copy of the Agreement and will be more than happy to assist you.