Skip to content

Adult Age, Adult Wage: Media Release

SDA union files case to abolish junior rates for retail and fast food workers aged 18+

Today the SDA, the union for workers in retail and fast food, will launch a groundbreaking case in the Fair Work Commission to abolish junior rates for workers aged 18 years and older.

The application to be filed in the Fair Work Commission by ACTU Secretary Sally McManus and SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer today, will seek to change the retail, fast food and pharmacy awards to pay the full adult rate of pay for workers 18 and over.

SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer says ‘it doesn’t make any sense for 18 and 19 year old workers doing the exact same work as their co-workers but be paid less.

“In the eyes of the law, 18, 19 and 20 year olds are adults. They can vote, drink alcohol and join the army – why are they paid as juniors?”

“If you’re of adult age, you should be paid an adult wage,” he said

“By the age of 18, most retail and fast food workers have many years experience in the sector, there is no justification for them being paid 30% less.”

The SDA stresses that young people in Australia face the same cost of living pressures as everyone else in the country but they are discriminated against when it comes to their wages.

If successful, the case will lift wages for younger workers in supermarkets, drive thrus and chemists across the country.
Changes to these awards will not only lift the minimum wages in these industries but will also flow onto Enterprise Agreements with junior rates.

ACTU Secretary Sally McManus said the case the SDA is putting forward to the Commission strives to end discrimination against younger workers in the retail and fast food industries.

“We’re asking workers of all ages, employers, the Fair Work Commission and the community to recognise that these young workers are adults and should be paid as such.”

The SDA will also be launching a new advertising campaign to raise awareness about the issue.

Proposed changes to the General Retail Industry Award, Fast Food Industry Award and Pharmacy Industry Award.


Current Retail RatesCurrent Fast Food RatesCurrent Pharmacy RatesSDA PROPOSED CHANGES
Under 1645%40%45%50%

*General Retail Industry Award pays 90% for the first 6 months of employment at age 20.

Contact: Jim Middleton 0418 627066