ARA welcomes modern award flexibility clause

Posted by Isobel Drake on 23rd June 2008

Peak retail industry body, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), has indicated their support of the flexibility clause of the modern award, after the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) announced retail as a priority industry on Friday.ARA Executive Director Richard Evans welcomed the AIRC’s acknowledgement that there is a need for flexible individual agreements between employers and employees in the retail sector. “The flexibility clause covering arrangements regarding when work is performed; overtime and penalty rates; allowances and leave loading provides flexibility and simplicity for a sector made up of vastly different business types and sizes which can’t be achieved through overly complex and restrictive requirements,” he said.

“Retailers need flexibility in a deregulated environment and any redevelopment of the retail award must ensure it addresses the modern retail sector driven by consumers far different from what they were 20 years ago.”

Despite short time frames the ARA reports that it is on track to produce a draft modern award by the 25 July due date.

“Without underestimating the enormity of the task facing the retail sector as a priority industry, it is fair to say the ARA is sufficiently advanced in its planning and consideration on the issues,” Mr Evans claimed. “To assist us with this task, we have also enlisted the services of Adelaide University’s Professor Andrew Stewart who has extensive experience in employment law and workplace relations. He will be developing a discussion paper and draft a Modern Award on behalf of the ARA.”

The AIRC, an independent, national tribunal, has reported details of their decision on their website at