Barrier to student employment to lift

From next week, it will be easier to offer after-school work to high school students, says the Guild

The Fair Work Commission has announced changes to the Pharmacy Industry Award 2017, which  will come into effect from the first full pay period starting on or after 11 September 2017.

A spokesperson for the Pharmacy Guild told the AJP that “the Guild urges all members to ensure they are aware of these changes so that they can maintain full compliance with the terms of the Pharmacy Industry Award”.

Employers may now engage school students for a minimum of two hours (rather than three hours) between 3pm and 6.30pm on school days.

 The student and their parent/guardian must consent to this arrangement and the student must be supervised at work.

“The secondary school student and annualised salary changes in the PIA were advocated by the Guild,” the spokesperson says.

“The school student change will make it easier for pharmacy employers to give after-school work opportunities.”

Head of Advice at workplace specialist Employsure, Josh Vikis, says the change “removes an unnecessary barrier for employers to utilise young people in the workplace.

“This has always been a challenge for service industries, with limited operating hours during the week after school finishes.”

Junior rates of pay have been removed for Pharmacy Assistants Levels 3 and 4. Any junior employees classified as a Level 3 or 4 Pharmacy Assistant, will be entitled to receive the adult rate of pay.

Minor amendments have been made to the Award to clarify some ambiguity over the payment of overtime and to confirm that casuals may be required to work reasonable overtime at overtime rates.

Employers may now agree to annual salaries with employees classified as Pharmacy Assistant Level 4 (previously only possible with pharmacists).

As with any annual salary, the employee must not be paid less than they would otherwise have received (for example, overtime and penalty rates) and a record of hours worked must be kept (and countersigned by the employee).

Under the Award, employers are now required to keep written copies of the employee’s agreement to receive an annual salary. The option for an all-inclusive salary should be contained in the remuneration clause of your standard employment contracts.

Pharmacies with junior employees classified as a Level 3 or 4 Pharmacy Assistant will need to ensure they are receiving at least the minimum adult rate of pay under the Award, from the first full pay period starting on or after 11 September 2017.

“After a raft of submissions from various interest groups, these changes may not be perfect for everyone. However, it’s positive to see the Commission create more clarity for employers,” says Mr Vikis.

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