There's less than a month to go before Santa arrives and the Boxing Day Sales follow, and this is a time when retailers flex-up by employing casual labour, increasing the hours of their current part-time contingent or politely asking that their full-timers work “reasonable” additional hours.

With this comes the minefield of the General Retail Industry Award and the potential for “inadvertent” award breaches.

A few tips to get you through the season, and make sure you are award compliant:

  1. Where you are paying above award rates, check that your contracts of employment (or enterprise agreements) provide for an annualised rate which offsets penalties and allowances under the award;
  2. Check that you have consulted with your employees about any changes to their regular rosters or hours of work (particularly where you are rostering part-timers to work more hours);
  3. Check that you are applying the correct junior rates (these changed from July 2014);
  4. Consider using Individual Flexibility Agreements.