Anna Patty 21 January 2016
A 7-Eleven pay deal for workers has been rejected because it would have underpaid workers by about $80 a week.
The Fair Work Commission has rejected an enterprise agreement proposed by a 7-Eleven franchise in Sydney because it failed the commission’s test to ensure workers are better off overall, compared with award wage rates.
Commissioner Julius Roe gave the franchise, trading as 7-Eleven Rozelle and 7-Eleven Bexley, an opportunity to ensure that proposed weekend rates would provide adequate compensation for any loss of award entitlements.
Given that 7-Eleven stores operate 24-hours a day, Commissioner Roe said the potential for employees to work a large proportion of hours at night and the weekend was “not fanciful”.
The employer, AJ Convenience Services Pty Ltd, argued that workers could request a reconciliation of their monthly take home pay to ensure it was more than their award entitlement – if more than half the hours they worked were at weekends. But it was unclear how this calculation would be made.
Commissioner Roe said the salary proposal failed the so-called ‘better off overall’ test. He said it should be up to the employer to determine any shortfall in wages, which workers may not be able to determine.
The company was also wrong to exempt itself from paying any shortfall in wages if employees had requested particular rosters.
Commissioner Roe said it was not relevant whether the hours worked were voluntary or not unless the variation was subject to safeguards under an individual flexibility agreement.
The company was also criticised for failing to restrict the amount of weekend work required of employees to a reasonable proportion of their total weekly hours.
Commissioner Roe advised the company in December that it could make further submissions in response to his concerns.
“Further submissions were received from the applicant but I was not satisfied that the loaded hourly rates were sufficient to ensure that employees who worked a considerable proportion of their working hours on weekends would be better off overall,” he said.
The company had proposed that employees rostered to work more than 50 per cent of their ordinary hours at weekends, or one third on a Sunday, could request a reconciliation ensuring their take-home pay was more than their award entitlement. Written requests for a reconciliation were required within seven days of the previous calendar month.
Commissioner Roe said this undertaking did not ensure employees would be better off overall under the agreement.
“If an employee is unaware that they have received less than the award and or fails to make a request to the employer for a reconciliation then they will not be better off overall,” he said.
“Furthermore, it is a matter for the employer to determine if there is any shortfall. How this calculation is to be made and what factors are to be included is not specified.
Commissioner Roe concluded that because “acceptable undertakings were not provided the application is dismissed”.
Extracted in full from the Sydney Morning Herald.