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Top tips for engaging casual employees over Christmas

September 18, 2018

Written by Sooraj Sidhu and Lindsay Carroll, NRA Legal

According to recent analysis by global job search platform Indeed, 67% of Christmas job opportunities in Australia are created in the retail sector to help serve the Christmas shopping frenzy.

Last year, Australians spent in excess of $26 billion during the month of December which would come as no surprise to veterans in the industry as Christmas has traditionally been the biggest earning period for retailers.

With Christmas fast approaching and the regulator’s recent focus on compliance in the retail and fast food sectors, it is critical that retailers understand their obligations with respect to casual employees and the rostering requirements of the Modern Awards.

Top 3 considerations for recruiting Christmas casuals

Casual employment will always be a part of the retail industry having regard to the demographic of retail workers and the flexibility it provides employers and employees alike. However, in advance of any Christmas recruitment strategy, employers will need to ascertain whether casual employment is the most appropriate arrangement that fits their business’ needs over the busy Christmas period.

Before you commence advertising for Christmas positions, you will need to consider:

  1. What is your business strategy over the Christmas period and having regard to past experience, how equipped is the store to deal with high demand at that time of year?
  2. Does the existing workforce have the capacity to scale up for extended trading hours over Christmas and if not, what is your recruitment strategy?
  3. During the recruitment process, how do you communicate the business needs over the peak period and have you considered the opportunity for continued employment beyond the Christmas period?

With Christmas fast approaching and the regulator’s spotlight on compliance in the retail and fast food industries, it is also essential that employers understand key rostering terms in Modern Awards over the peak retail periods.

Register for the “Preparing for the Silly Season” webinar series

In our upcoming “Preparing for the Silly Season” webinar on Thursday, 4 October 2018 at 11:00am, we will guide members through the do’s and don’ts of managing casual employees during the peak trade period. Specifically, the webinar will touch on:

  • strategies and key considerations when recruiting Christmas casuals,
  • your rights and obligations with respect to casual employees including their minimum rates of pay and entitlements, and
  • preparing rosters and notifying employees of changes to maximise efficiency and compliance with the Modern Awards.

Our second webinar in the series will help members prepare for highly anticipated Christmas events and will be followed by a third webinar detailing how to manage authorised and unauthorised absences over the festive season.

To register your interest for these free events and submit your questions to be answered during each webinar, email info@nra.net.au or call our workplace relations hotline on 1800 RETAIL (738 245).

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