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Proposal for a new Woolworths Agreement

The SDA has secured a proposed new Woolworths Agreement that delivers:

  • Better wages
  • Fairer rostering and more hours
  • More time off with pay
  • Process to deal with workload issues
  • Your hard won SDA conditions

Below is a summary of the proposal and how it aligns with Woolworths Supermarkets Agreement 2018. The new Agreement will commence on the latter of 21 October 2024 or the start of the first full pay period at least 7 days after approval by the Fair Work Commission (FWC). The commencement date of the Agreement depends on the date it is approved by the FWC. The nominal expiry date is 17 April 2028.

Voting will occur online from
Wednesday 12 June to Wednesday 19 June
Voting will be conducted online via www.netvote.com.au/984
Make sure you have your say.

Please read this information carefully and if you have any questions about the proposal please speak to your SDA Delegate, SDA Organiser or call the SDA.

Sign on bonus – digital gift card

Woolworths will provide eligible team members with Woolworths Group Gift Cards as follows:

  • Full-time: $598
  • Part-time: $250
  • Casual: $150

These will be paid in two payments.

Gift card 1: Upon a positive vote for the
proposed Agreement (provided within 14 days
of a successful vote):

  • Full-time: $299
  • Part-time: $125
  • Casual: $75

Gift card 2: Upon full approval of the proposed
Agreement by the Fair Work Commission
(provided within 14 days of full approval process):

  • Full-time: $299
  • Part-time: $125
  • Casual: $75

Eligible team members are those employed at the date that the vote closes and remain employed at the time the gift card is provided. A team member must have worked at least one shift (or been on approved leave – including unpaid parental leave) in 7 of the 10 weeks prior to the closing date of the vote.

Note the sign-on bonus does not form part of the Agreement.

Read the full proposed Woolworths Agreement here: Woolworths Australian Food Group Agreement 2024

Wages

PAY RISES 1 JULY 2024
Wages will increase on 1 July 2024 by 3.75%.

PAY RISES EVERY YEAR
Wages will then increase on the first full pay period after 1 July by the % won at the Fair Work Commission in the Annual Wage Review every year.

Each year the Fair Work Commission decides how much to increase the Minimum Wage and Award Wages. This is called the Annual Wage Review.

The SDA and the union movement argue for a fair increase in wages for workers.

 

Allowances will be increased to reflect increases to the allowances in the General Retail Industry Award (GRIA). Allowances will be no less than the GRIA over the life of the Agreement. The proposed Agreement clarifies that the First Aid allowance does not apply when:

  • Woolworths no longer requires a team member to perform first aid duties.
  • The team member is no longer qualified.
  • The team member has elected to resign from first aid duties.

The recall allowance has been clarified so that where a team member is called back to work, the time worked will be disregarded for the purposes of calculating the rest period between finishing work on one day and starting work on the next day and for the purposes of the rostering rules in the Agreement.

The proposal also clarifies that this is paid at overtime rates.

Classifications will be updated to reflect the current tasks and duties. Team members should not be required by Woolworths to work in departments or roles for which they have not received training.

Superannuation

The Superannuation Guarantee employer contribution has been updated to 11% of a team member’s ordinary time earnings. Under legislation, superannuation will increase to 11.5% on July 1 2024, and then 12% on July 1 2025.

The proposal incorporates Woolworths’ policy on superannuation during parental leave. Woolworths pays superannuation for up to 12 months for eligible team members who are primary carers, while on paid and unpaid parental leave.

Fairer Rostering and More Hours

The proposal increases minimum part-time hours to 48 hours over 4 weeks (an average of 12 hours per week up from 10 hours) unless otherwise agreed. Part-time team members can still choose to have a minimum of 40 hours over 4 weeks (an average of 10 hours per week). These provisions will commence on 23 June 2025.

Under the proposal, whenever Woolworths proposes to change a part-time team member’s roster, the team member can elect to increase their contract hours by the average number of additional hours worked each week in the previous 26 weeks (assuming that the team member has been working additional hours for at least 6 months).

A part-time team member may also elect to increase their contract hours every 6 months based on the average number of additional hours worked in the previous 6 months (up from 12 months). Where a part-time team member works an average of 36 hours per week for 6 months, they can elect to become full-time.

By agreement with the company, a full-time team member may be rostered to work their contract hours over 4 days in a week. This may require a team member to work up to 4 weekend shifts over a 4 week cycle. Under this arrangement, a team member may work up to 9.5 hours per day.

If a part-time team member works their standard roster over 5 days in a week, they can request to work a 4 day per week roster. Woolworths may agree to this based on operational requirements.

The proposal contains a Right to Care clause recognising:

  • The challenges that team members face when balancing their work and caring commitments.
  • That team members have commitments outside work and different caring responsibilities.
  • That there are benefits for both team members and Woolworths when caring responsibilities are accommodated.
  • The benefits of meaningful hours of work as well as secure, predictable, and stable working hours.

The proposal allows team members to also work at other Woolworths Stores (or other stores in the Woolworths Group) to provide an opportunity for more hours of work if they wish to do so.

Every team member will have a home store.

Team members may elect to nominate other stores by completing a store nomination form. This cannot be a condition of employment.

A team member may work a complete shift at a location other than their home store or they may work multiple locations within the same shift.

When working multiple locations within the same shift the time spent travelling between locations is paid and team members will not be required to use their breaks as travel time.

Woolworths will consider the distance between stores to ensure it is reasonable. The rostering provisions of the home store will apply.

Where a team member does not elect but is required by Woolworths to work in a store other than their home store (which is not a nominated store) they are entitled to the transport and travel time allowance.

The proposal includes a new provision for full-time and part-time team members to enter into a shift swap arrangement with another team member. Any arrangement to swap a shift must:

  • Be genuinely agreed by both team members;
  • Be compliant with the terms and conditions of the Agreement;
  • Not result in any additional cost to Woolworths (e.g. overtime); and
  • Be approved by either a Store Manager or a Leader at least one day prior to the relevant shift.

The proposal allows part time and casual team members, who are not employed as a cleaner at Woolworths, to pick up additional hours under the Agreement by electing to be offered cleaning shifts with Woolworths’ Proactive Services.

Cleaning shifts will be voluntary and cannot be made a condition of employment.

The Woolworths Agreement contains strong rights for workers in relation to rostering. Permanent team members have the ability to choose to waive some of those rights for alternative arrangements.

These rights are:

  • Regular Sunday work
  • Breaks between shifts
  • Consecutive days off

Under the new agreement, team members can do that by entering a standard roster in an electronic platform or accepting those alternative arrangements in their standard roster in an electronic platform (which has been entered by Woolworths).

Woolworths will notify the team member that they are accepting alternative arrangements. This can be terminated by the team member with 4 weeks written notice and it cannot be a condition of employment to accept these.

Process to deal with workload issues

The proposal includes a new process to raise and address ongoing concerns on staffing and workload as follows:
1. Team members provide details in writing of the times and days where there are insufficient team members to cover the workload of a department/area.
2. Team members identify why they think there is a workload issue (covering a 3-month period) and then discuss these details with their line manager. The 3-month period excludes peak periods such as Christmas and Easter or oneoff events such as unplanned absences or a temporary spike in sales activity.
3. Woolworths will review the information provided and explore options with team members to address workload issues and agree to a timetable for any agreed actions.

Online training

Where a team member is required to complete training, it will be done during paid rostered work hours. Any training that is done outside rostered hours will only be paid where the team member has been directed by Woolworths to complete the training and is agreed in writing (before the training occurs).

Leave and public holidays

Team members currently have access to 2 single day absences per year without evidence. Under the proposal this will be increased to 4 single day absences per year without evidence.

Permanent team members can use their accrued Personal Leave to pro-actively manage their emotional/psychological wellbeing.

The proposal provides access to Purchased Additional Leave which is not currently accessible to Agreement covered workers.

It will allow full-time and part-time team members to purchase up to 2 extra weeks of leave each year. This is done by way of a salary sacrifice scheme based on the number of weeks purchased. This is done through the value of the leave being averaged out over the year and that amount being banked/deducted from their wage each week.

Team members may apply for Purchased Leave if:

  • They have less than or equal to 4 weeks of accrued annual leave
  • They have provided all outstanding long service leave has been used.

Applications may be made between 1 July and 1 May of the following year. Purchased Leave can be taken in 1 or 2 week blocks. Purchased additional leave not taken within the financial year will be refunded to them as a lump sum during the last month of the financial year at the rate it was purchased.

This will be in accordance with the Woolworths Group Purchased Additional Leave Policy.

Part-time team members can apply to take annual leave on a day or days that they have agreed and been rostered to work additional hours. This means that they can take their accrued annual leave and be paid as if they were working their additional hours and not their base contract hours.

The proposal removes the 2 week cap on cashing out annual leave accrued and allows the team member to cash out more annual leave – provided they keep at least 4 weeks accrued annual leave.

Where a team member has an immediate family member with a long term disability or illness they may provide evidence of the need to take carer’s leave once every 6 months. This evidence will then apply for this caring responsibility for the next 6 month period.

The proposal includes a definition of Found Family. This is in recognition that there are various types of family arrangements in the community. Found family is where the team member is out of contact with a member or members of their immediate family or, another person with whom the team member has a genuine relationship of identifiable equivalent significance.

Compassionate leave is increasing from 5 days to 10 days on the death of a spouse, de facto partner or child.

Team members will be entitled to 3 days compassionate leave where a tram member or their spouse has a miscarriage or a child is stillborn.

Under the proposal the time in which TOIL must be taken will be extended from 28 days to 6 months or to be taken the week before the end of the financial year otherwise it will be paid out. Payment will be at their base rate plus 25% and a day off equivalent to the hours worked.

Under the proposal, other leave doesn’t need to be exhausted to take leave without pay.

When a shift commences on a public holiday and ends on the following day, that entire shift is considered a public holiday and is paid at public holiday penalty rates.

Work on this shift is voluntary.

A shift that starts on the day before the public holiday and ends on the public holiday is considered an ordinary shift.

Casual conversion to permanent employment

The proposal includes several improvements, consistent with changes to the National Employment Standards (NES). It removes the current casual conversion clause and replaces it with the Employee Choice Pathway.

Casual workers may request to convert to permanent employment after 6 months and have the right to apply every 6 months after that if they no longer meet the definition of casual employment.

The definition of casual employment has been updated to mean a worker who has been provided no commitment to ongoing work. Requests to convert can only be rejected on reasonable grounds and the Fair Work Commission can arbitrate a dispute.

Breaks

The timing and duration of meal breaks will now be included in the roster. The timing of breaks may only be changed on the day of the shift, by agreement.

Meal breaks have been set as 30 minutes (or 60 minutes by agreement).

Team members who currently have a meal break of 60 minutes will be able to retain this arrangement. Workers who receive a 45 minute break may request an individual flexibility arrangement.

The “early mark” provision clarifies that a team member working a shift of up to 6 hours can take their meal break at the end of a shift and leave the workplace at the beginning of their break (i.e. they can leave “early”).

An “early mark” can be either:

  • rostered in advance (an on-going arrangement);
  • agreed, prior to or during a shift on an ad hoc basis.

An ongoing “early mark” arrangement can be ended by a team member giving 4 weeks’ notice to Woolworths.

Requests for flexible working arrangements

Flexible Working Arrangements is being updated in line with new legislation:

  • A request for flexible working arrangements can now be made by a pregnant team member.
  • Additional requirements for Woolworths to have discussions with a team member following a request by the team member for a flexible working arrangement.
  • Where an agreement has been reached on a flexible work arrangement Woolworths must provide in writing a statement that the request or a variation of the request has been agreed.
  • Any refusal to the request must be in writing and include detailed reasons for the refusal.

Dispute resolution

The Dispute Resolution procedure sets out how to deal with disputes between team members and Woolworths in relation to a matter arising under the Agreement or the National Employment Standards (NES).

All disputes, when escalated to the Commission, will continue to be first dealt with by conciliation. For a matter to proceed to arbitration it must be by consent of both parties.

Where a team member is represented by the SDA, Woolworths must provide consent for the Commission to deal with the dispute by arbitration. Where a dispute is about a roster change, the status quo will apply for 28 days after the end of the notice period for a roster change.

If the dispute is referred to the Commission within 28 days, the status quo remains until the matter is resolved. Where workers are represented by the SDA, disputes can be about any matter and status quo can apply to any matter.

Union rights

A new union clause has been inserted which contains existing SDA arrangements and new rights for SDA Delegates including the ability to:

  • Discuss work related matters with a team member and to provide information in relation to the workplace to team members.
  • Attend paid Delegate training of up to 6 shifts per store or more by agreement.

Savings provisions

The savings provisions under the current Agreement will be updated. For team members in receipt of an additional payment that was being phased out under the current Agreement, it will continue to phase out in the same way, from 2025. The provisions of team members covered by a working hours arrangement savings provision for Sunday work will continue to apply.


Bargaining for a new Woolworths Supermarkets National Agreement commenced today.

Woolworths and the SDA exchanged their log of claims.

Throughout negotiations it’s our priority to secure:

  • Better wages
  • Fairer rostering – for your work/life balance
  • More time off with pay
  • Your hard-won SDA Union conditions
  • Protection of your penalty ratesRemember, no proposed Woolworths Agreement can be put in place without a vote of all employees. You will have the final say when it comes to any new Woolworths Agreement.

We will continue to update all members throughout negotiations. You can also read our updates from negotiations at here at any time.

If you have any questions about this or any other workplace matter, please contact the SDA.

P.S. Did you know we’re campaigning for more leave for Woolworths workers? Read more at www.national.sda.com.au/5-weeks-leave.

Bargaining for a new Agreement for Woolworths Supermarkets is set to start very soon, with the SDA and Woolworths scheduled to meet for a business overview and to exchange our logs of claims.

The SDA has an important and ambitious bargaining agenda, put together by our Woolworths Delegates and members across the country. Read our full Log of Claims here.

The SDA’s key focus in these upcoming negotiations is to secure:

  • Better wages
  • Fairer rostering – for your work/life balance
  • More time off with pay
  • Your hard-won SDA Union conditions

There is plenty of bargaining ahead of us over the coming months and the SDA will keep you up to date on any developments.

The SDA has also kicked off our campaign to win 5 weeks annual leave for Woolies members. To read more and support the campaign click here now.

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