The Australian Retailers Association has called for Sunday penalty rates to be halved to reflect the demands of the modern retail environment.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said current Sunday penalty rates were a disincentive for businesses to employ staff to open on Sundays.
“The ARA believes a reduction in the Sunday penalty rate from 100 per cent to 50 per cent would take into account challenges facing the industry to trade seven days a week while ensuring employees have access to jobs and flexible hours,” Mr Zimmerman said in a statement.
The ARA said that a survey recently conducted showed 71 per cent of retailers were currently employing less staff than previously, with more than three quarters blaming high labour costs.
“the objective of the retail award is to set a minimum safety net for both employers and employees,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“However, retailers are increasingly concerned this minimum safety net is too high, leading to substantial labour cost pressures which are being exacerbated by prevailing trading conditions and increased international competition.”
The ARA’s recommendations are part of its submission to Fair Work Australia’s review of the General Retail Industry Award.
A bill to amend Western Australia’s Retail Trading Hours Act was introduced to state parliament in February, paving the way for stores across Perth to open on Sundays from around August.