Fair Work Australia has agreed to a variation of a retail industry award providing greater flexibility in the employment of full time school students.

Fair Work Australia (FWA) has agreed to vary the terms of the General Retail Industry Award 2010, to provide flexibility for retailers seeking to utilise the employment of full-time school students after school hours.

The variation will allow retailers to engage casual workers for a minimum engagement of 1.5 hours (rather than the usual minimum of 3 hours), providing that:  

  • the employee is a full-time secondary student  
  • the employee is engaged to work between the hours of 3.00 pm and 6.00 pm, on a day where they are required to attend school  
  • the employee (and their parent or guardian) agrees to allow a working period of less than 3 hours, and  
  • a longer period of work is not possible due to the operational requirements of the employer, or due to the unavailability of the employee.  

The variation to the Award has been expressed by FWA to be effective from 1 July 2011. However, the effect of this decision has been put on hold, pending the outcome of an appeal to the Full Bench of FWA. We hope to be able to provide readers with an update on the outcome of that decision in the next edition of Employment Matters.