Changes to breaks between work periods in the Retail Award

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Published 23 May 2024| Updated 24 May 2024

Find out how an employee’s pay is calculated when they’re not given at least 12 hours break between shifts under the Retail Award.

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What’s changed

The Fair Work Commission (the Commission) has made changes to the wording of the Retail Award concerning the pay rate for employees when they don’t get the minimum break between shifts.

An employee gets a higher pay rate if they work a shift without getting a 12 hour break between their shifts (or 10 hours by agreement). All hours worked without this necessary break are paid at 200% of their minimum hourly rate until they get the minimum break of 12 hours (or 10 by agreement).

All ordinary hours performed on public holidays is paid at the penalty rates prescribed in clause 22.1.

Casuals also get their casual loading, calculated on their minimum hourly rate.

These changes took effect from the first full pay period on or after 14 May 2024.

Example: Employee starts work without having minimum break between shifts

Felix is a part-time employee working:

  • 3pm – 8:30pm Thursdays
  • 8:30am – 4pm Fridays
  • 9am – 3pm Saturdays

There’s no agreement for a shorter minimum break period between shifts. Felix is entitled to a minimum of 12 hours break between shifts.

Felix is asked to stay back and close shop on a Thursday. Felix finishes work at 9pm. The next day, Felix starts work at their usual time without getting a 12 hour break between shifts.

For the hours worked on Friday, Felix gets 200% of the minimum hourly rate because Felix doesn’t get a 12 hour break between their shifts.

Starting work later the next day to get 12 hours break between shifts

If Felix is asked to start later on Friday so they get the minimum break, Felix is still paid from the time they usually start work until the conclusion of their shift at the ordinary pay rate.

Find out more by using our industry filtered content at Breaks.

Award resources

Access the below resources for more information:

To learn more about these award changes, access the Commission’s decision.

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