Chemist Warehouse: we won’t cut penalty rates


Chemist Warehouse and My Chemist pharmacies have announced they will honour all existing penalty rate payments for current staff

Following the Fair Work Commission’s review of penalty rates, Sunday and public holiday rates are set to be reduced for those employed under the Pharmacy Industry and Retail Awards, from as early as 1 July 2017.

Chemist Warehouse Group Director Damien Gance says that while the group welcomes the review’s conclusion, it believes its staff are its greatest asset.

As a result, it will grandfather existing Sunday and Public Holiday penalty rates for existing employees and those who are employed before 1 July 2017.

“At Chemist Warehouse we always endeavour to do the right thing by our staff as we know their commitment, hard work and dedication is critical to our ongoing success,” Mr Gance says.

The decision will cover all employees at Chemist Warehouse and My Chemist pharmacies, including retail assistants, dispensary technicians, pharmacists, pharmacy students and “any other staff” currently employed under the Pharmacy Industry Award 2010 and the General Retail Industry Award 2010, if they begin work before 1 July this year.

Mr Gance paid tribute to Chemist Warehouse and My Chemist staff, saying they have been briefed on the decision at meetings around the country this week.

“Chemist Warehouse and My Chemist remain committed to give our valued employees certainty about their future remuneration following the decision laid down by the Fair Work Commission and we hope this announcement does so,” he says.

“We value the important contribution made by each staff member, whose engagement and involvement in the business are vital to our success.”

As of September 2016 Chemist Warehouse employs 2857 professional services staff across Australia.

Yesterday the Fair Work Commission announced that the full impact of penalty rates cuts would be delayed until 1 July 2020, with the first round of cuts – to Sunday rates from 200% to 195% – to begin on 1 July 2017.

Unions including the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association are filing an appeal against the decision and PPA – which had previously targeted Chemist Warehouse to lobby to retain penalty rates – says it will appeal to owners not to apply the cuts.

The Pharmacy Guild welcomed the delayed phase-in for penalty rates cuts, saying it was “a balanced approach”.

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