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The National Retail Association (NRA) has today welcomed the announcement by Federal Jobs and Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O’Dwyer that she will intervene in a Federal Court case that could decimate thousands of small businesses.

The Federal Court is currently considering an application by WorkPac as to whether a casual employee was entitled to ‘double dip’ on their entitlements.

NRA Deputy CEO Lindsay Carroll said that small business needed certainty over their obligations to casual employees.

“The NRA welcomes Minister O’Dywer’s announcement that she will intervene in the WorkPac case currently before the Federal Court,” Ms Carroll said.

“As one of Australia’s largest employers of young people, the retail sector needs clarity, certainty and confidence when it comes to ‘double dipping’ and the employment of casual workers.

“Mum-and-dad small business owners would be financially devastated if they are asked to fork out both a higher hourly rate for casual workers and be forced to pay them entitlements usually reserved for permanent staff.

“The end result would be that small businesses hire fewer casual staff, which would be another devastating blow to Australia’s already unacceptably high youth unemployment rate.

“Christmas is just around the corner and retailers should be looking to hire casual workers to cope with the increased business, but the lack of certainty created by this case severely jeopardises this.

Ms Carroll warned that although the WorkPac case relates to the mining industry it could create a precedent that stretches to all other sectors of the economy.

“The current WorkPac case is not by any means confined to the mining sector and threatens to have a devastating impact on small businesses across all sectors, including retail,” Ms Carroll said.

“It’s all well and good for the union movement to bemoan the Minister’s intervention, but their businesses and livelihoods are not on the line if the double dipping of casual entitlements stretches to other industries.”

The National Retail Association is Australia’s largest and most representative retail industry association.  It has been serving businesses in the retail and fast food sectors for close to 100 years.

Lindsay Carroll is available for interviews. 
Please contact the NRA’s media unit on (07) 3240 0163 or 0467 792 013.