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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  1. Gavin Mingay

    Only for existing staff… So any new staff will be paid even less than the current staff get, which is already the bottom of the market..

    • David Haworth

      Nice to have a two tier pay structure for various staff. I’m sure they will enjoy that.

  2. Jarrod McMaugh

    I take it from the comments in this article that there will also be support from this particular group for the increases to the award that will be recommended after the current wage case review.

  3. United we stand

    Wow CWH isn’t! The onus is now on all other pharmacies to follow suit or else you are a whining hypocrite that is unfit to operate a business. Never thought I’d say this. But we’ll done to CWH.

    • Jarrod McMaugh

      The first drop is from 200% loading to 195% loading for full time employees.

      It is hardly hurting their bottom line to absorb that in the first year and gain a little publicity, especially if it is calculated off the base award rate.

      While this is good news if it is implemented, lets see if it is sustained across the full 3-year process and when the wage case review results in an increased base award rate.

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