Industry News

SA retail workers missing out on $68 million under current trading hour regulations

The popular Rundle Mall would benefit by increased trading hours

A new model by the Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA) and National Retail Association (NRA) outlines substantial missed employment and wage opportunities for South Australians as a result of current shop trading hour regulations.

The newly released modelling shows the number of lost hours in SA from retailers not being able to open and trade on similar hours to other states is 2.2 million a year, while lost wages amount to more than $68 million a year.

The SCCA and NRA modelling, which is based on an eastern states style trading model of 9am-6pm on Saturdays and 9am-5pm on Sundays and public holidays (excluding Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and before 12pm on Anzac Day), and additional hours on Black Friday and in the lead up to Christmas, conservatively estimates that local workers are missing out on 2.2 million hours per year, resulting in more than $68 million in lost wages.

The existing regulations prohibit metropolitan Adelaide retail outlets larger than 200m2 and supermarkets larger than 400m2 from opening before 11am on Sundays or at all on public holidays

The modelling assumes 100% uptake by major retailers in metropolitan Adelaide (both within and outside of shopping centres) and 85% uptake by speciality retailers located within metropolitan Adelaide shopping centres with three staff on blended wage rates per specialty store.

Significantly, the data shows that it is employees at smaller and independent retailers who are most affected under current regulations, with $49 million (or 72%) of lost wages attributed to specialty retail stores.

The existing regulations, which prohibit metropolitan Adelaide retail outlets larger than 200m2 and supermarkets larger than 400m2 from opening before 11am on Sundays or at all on public holidays (without special exemptions), make it uneconomical for larger shopping centres to open their doors outside of these times, consequently impacting smaller retailers who are not subject to the same trading hour restrictions.

NRA Chief Executive Dominique Lamb said the data showed South Australian workers are “missing out” on wages and hours at a time when youth unemployment is a pressing issue for the state. “An extra $68 million in the pocket of South Australia’s retail workers is a key reason for reforming trading hours, and I stress that this is based on conservative modelling and focussed only on staff working in-store,” she said.

She said, “Creating extra hours and wages for retail workers is even more critical given that retail is the country’s the largest employer of young people and South Australia has the highest rates of youth unemployment in the nation.

The call is to make trading hours align with others states for retailers and shopping centres.

“Our modelling isn’t based on shops trading ‘24/7’. It’s based on shops being able to trade earlier on Sunday mornings, later on Saturdays and on key public holidays – just like shops are able to in other jurisdictions. Importantly, as the modelling shows, enabling South Australia’s stores to trade similar hours to stores in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory will not only benefit large retailers and the workers they employ, but workers at small retail businesses will be the ultimate winners.”

SCCA Executive Director Angus Nardi said, “We know that when larger retailers are able to open during extended trading hours, around 25 smaller retailers choose open to leverage and benefit from the foot traffic generated by those large businesses. Our ongoing detailed modelling also highlights there is strong customer demand for extended trading hours, including delivering an overall net increase to customer demand.”

As an example, a 20-year-old level two casual worker in a pharmacy working 18 hours per week (10 hours weekdays @ $25.09 per hour, four hours on Saturday @ $30.11 per hour and four hours on Sunday @ $35.12 per hour. Currently earns $511.82 per week. By adding one additional working hour on a Sunday, an additional two hours on Sunday this worker would take home an extra $100.35 per week, which represents a 20% increase. If this worker were to also work 8 hours on a public holiday, they would also pocket an additional $401.44.

Much of this wage opportunity would be for the benefit of young people, including that fact that retail jobs are often ‘local’ jobs given the location and dispersal of shopping centres and retailers across Adelaide.

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Shopping Centre News

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