The nature of a retail fuel sites, often operating with one staff member on site and an increased need for flexibility when scheduling rosters and site coverage lends itself to the use of casual staff.  However, there are many retail fuel sites that have some or all of their staff engaged as permanent staff, be they full time or part time.  This use of permanent staff requires careful attention to several areas within the business, this weeks HR Highlight will explore some of these areas.

Guaranteed Hours

When a business engages a casual staff member they are engaged and employed on an hour by hour basis, with no guarantee of minimum hours per week.  Most businesses elect to run weekly or fortnightly rosters, to ensure that all available staff are aware of the businesses preference for their work times, allowing for the employees to schedule other work and personal commitments.  When engaging permanent staff there is also the requirement to provide guaranteed or minimum hours.  It is a requirement that these hours are stated formally and that the staff member is paid for these minimum hours each week, even if the business does not need them to work.  As permanent staff they are entitled to predictable hours and income.  The guaranteed hours system allows for that.

Overtime

Any hours that are outside of the guaranteed hours, or outside of the agreed roster are considered overtime as a standard, and must be paid at overtime rates.  There is some flexibility for negotiation of the spread of ordinary hours and ordinary rates to allow a buffer past the guaranteed hours, but this comes with requirements to document requests from staff, and for fairness to be considered and documented.

Shift work

While casual staff are paid a flat rate for hours worked, depending on the day worked, permanent staff are entitled to shift loading amounts depending on the times that are worked.

Shift loading applies to ‘regular’ shifts occurring Monday to midday Saturday.  Any shift that starts after 4am but before noon is a day shift and comes with a 0% loading.  Any shift that starts after noon but before 6pm is an afternoon shift and comes with an 18% loading.  Any shift that starts after 6pm but before 4am is a night shift and comes with a 30% loading.  Any regular rotation of afternoon and night shifts results in all shifts being paid at a 20% loading to all shifts.  Any regular rotation of night and day shifts results in a 12.5% loading to all night shifts. Any regular rotation of day and afternoon shifts results in a 12.5% loading to all afternoon shifts.  Any regular rotation of day, afternoon and night shifts results in a 12.5% loading to all afternoon and night shifts.

If the staff member is engaged to work “irregular” night or afternoon shifts then those shifts will be worked at time and a half.

Casual v Permanent

While casual staff attract a higher base hourly rate, many case studies undertaken on behalf of members have shown that the total wage cost of permanent staff is only marginally lower (by a few cents in most cases depending on the roster) than casual staff.  Permanent staff come with challenges when balancing guaranteed hours with the need for flexibility as well as the challenge to many simple payroll systems of managing the shift work loadings.

Beyond the payroll cost and difficulty issues there is a broader question as to the role of casual and permanent staff within a retail fuel business.  Certainly the stability offered to permanent staff delivers more stable and arguably more fulfilling employment relationships, which can lend itself to a more stable workforce generally and more manageable long term customer service outcomes.

When making the decision to engage permanent staff at a retail fuel site it is important to understand the differing requirements, and ensure that the business systems, including rostering and payroll, are up to the task of managing these requirements.

Here to Help

ACAPMA members are reminded that the ACAPMA employment professionals are available to assist with employment, safety and training compliance. For more information call 1300 160 270.

HR Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general advice and you should seek further advice on your situation by calling 1300 160 270 and speaking to one of the ACAPMA Workplace Relations professionals – a service that is free for members. ACAPMA membership is affordable at only $770 per year for a single site and is a valuable investment with sites gaining HR and IR advice support and representation as well as a raft of other benefits and discounts.