There are many benefits that flow to the business and to the community when a local service station engages with the local youth population, providing experience and income, as well as often first time exposure to working environments.  There are however several things that the business must consider and understand when engaging Juniors in a retail petroleum environment.  This weeks HR Highlight will explore some of these key elements.

Induction and Training

It is important to remember when engaging a Junior that for many it will be their first exposure to a working environment, as well as their first exposure to a fuel retail site outside of being a passenger in the vehicle.  Due to this “newness” it is important that a repetitive and detailed induction and training program is provided for Juniors particularly – it is important to approach this induction from several sides.  Induction and training should be engaging, multi media and should be backed up with face to face discussions around process and the often “common sense” reasons for processes and procedures.  With Juniors a level or repetition in the first three months is necessary to embed learning.

Work Restrictions

There is also several restrictions that apply to persons under 18 years working at a retail fuel site.  Some of these restrictions come from the Award (The Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award 2010some come from Work Health and Safety legislation and others from tobacco and controlled media restrictions.

Under the Award Clause 14.2 notes that;

any person under 18 years will not work unsupervised between the hours of 7pm and 9pm, and
any person under 18 years will not work at all in the hours between 9pm and 6:30am, and
any person under 16 years will not work on afternoon or night shift (under the definitions of shift work – afternoon shift is one commencing after midday and night shift is one commencing after 6pm).

There are also restrictions on the age that a person can sell tobacco and related products.

These restrictions must be considered when allocating Juniors to shifts and roles within the business.

Pay Rates

The pay rates for Juniors also differ based on their age at the time.

One of the key things that ACAPMA is often asked is at what point do the pay rates roll forward to the next bracket, namely is it on the employees birthday or at the start of the calendar or financial year?  The short answer is that it is based on the employees birthday – so set a reminder in your calendar to review pay rates on each Junior employees birthday.

This requirement to adjust pay rates based on birthdays also leads to questions around the appropriate way to express pay rates in a letter of offer, particularly when the prospective employees exact age may not be known.  One suggestion is to include in the Letter of Offer notation that the appropriate Junior wage rate will be applied, which amounts to a % of the Adult Wage Rate for the classification as at the date of offer, and then to include the actual Adult Wage rate and the Junior scale in full.

For example; ‘role of driveway attendant on a permanent basis paid at the appropriate Junior rate at the time.  As at [today] the Adult rate is $XX.XX and the Junior rates are  47.5% of Adult rate for 16y and under, 50% of Adult rate for 17y, 62.5% of Adult rate for 18y, 75% of Adult rate for 19y, 87.5% of Adult rate for 20y.’

The actual rates will depend on if the employee is engaged as a permanent part time or a causal, as well as depending on their role within the business and age.

It is important to note that the junior percentages differ between permanent staff and casuals.

Here to Help

The ACAPMA Employment Department is available to assist members on 1300 160 270 or you can email

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 ACAPMA Employment Department it’s free for members. ACAPMA membership is affordable at only $770 per year for a single site, which represents great value with sites gaining HR advice support and representation as well as a raft of other benefits and discounts. Learn more about ACAPMA membership here