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SDA | The Union for McDonald's workers

Your pay. Your rights. Your union at Macca’s.

McDonald’s employees will now be covered by the Fast Food Industry Award from 3 February 2020.

This means a change to your pay and working conditions, it’s important to know what your rights are under the Award.

The SDA plays a central role in pushing for the Award to maintain decent pay and fair conditions that are relevant to the needs of fast food workers across the country.

The SDA works hard every year in the Fair Work Commission to ensure rates of pay go up and working conditions are protected and improved in the Fast Food Industry Award.

Are you part-time at Macca’s?

If you have been asked to convert from part-time to casual before transitioning to the Award on 3 February, get in touch with us.

You cannot be forced to change from part-time to casual.

Part-time employment provides guarantees about your roster and other benefits such as paid leave. The SDA strongly discourages any part-time employees at McDonald’s from converting to casual.

Your part-time employment contract which includes your minimum contracted (e.g. 10 hours per week) hours should not change as a result of the change to the Fast Food Award.

If you are offered a new contract it should be the same number of hours that you are on now unless you have asked for less hours.

You do not have to agree to reduce your hours or change to casual work.

The SDA is assisting any McDonald’s member who has been given a new employment contract they do not agree to. Please contact us if you need advice or representation.

It is not lawful for you to be offered a new permanent part-time contract that only guarantees a minimum of 3 hours and told you will be made casual if you do not agree.

You do not have to accept a new contract that only guarantees a 3 hour minimum or be forced to change to casual

Don’t sign anything you don’t agree to, contact the SDA for advice.

If you feel you are being pressured into changing, contact us so we can help you.

Information about the Fast Food Industry Award

Your rates of pay will be set by the Fast Food Industry Award. Click here to see the full wage sheet.

While the base hourly rate of pay may be slightly lower for some employees, penalty rates at other times will increase under the Award.

Higher Duties: If you are required to perform work at a higher level then you will be paid at the higher rate. If this is for 2 hours or more on a shift then the higher rate applies for the whole shift.

Pay rises are determined by the Fair Work Commission’s Annual Wage Review.

Each year the Fair Work Commission considers submissions, including submissions from unions and employer groups, about wage increases for the minimum wage and Award wages.

The SDA through the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) makes a comprehensive submission arguing for wages to go up in the Annual Wage Review every year.

The review takes place in the first half of the year, with a decision being made generally in May or June before new rates of pay coming into effect on 1 July.

The SDA keeps you updated about your pay regularly, including any pay rises.

When McDonald’s employees change over to the Fast Food Industry Award, you should receive an increase to some penalty rates for late nights and weekends.

The following penalty rates that were secured by the SDA in the Fast Food Industry Award apply:

Penalty rates were fought and won by the SDA when the new Fast Food Award was created.

We strongly believe that you deserve fair pay and compensation when giving up important time to work.


Permanent employees will be paid overtime rates if they work:

  • More than 38 hours per week or an average of 38 hours per week averaged over a 4 week period
  • More than 5 days per week or more than 6 days if 4 days worked the next week
  • More than 11 hours on any day
  • Before or after their rostered shift
  • More than their agreed hours (part-time employees only)

Casual employees will be paid overtime rates if they work:

  • More than 38 hours per week or where they have a roster, more than 38 hours per week averaged over the course of the roster cycle
  • More than 11 hours on any day

The SDA will continue to update you with important information about changes to your pay and conditions that will start on 3 February 2020.

P.S. Remember, if you are part-time you cannot be forced to sign a new contract that reduces your hours or change to casual. If you need help or feel pressured, contact the SDA before signing anything.

You have a right to a safe workplace and this includes no abuse or violence from customers.

87% of fast food workers we surveyed said they had experienced verbal abuse or aggressive behaviour and 28% said they had experienced physical abuse such as punching, hitting, pushing or threats of physical abuse like death threats.

This should not be the norm for workers at McDonald’s and that’s why the SDA launched a massive campaign to eliminate abuse and violence from customers.

Abuse isn’t part of the job. It is one of the top health and safety issues facing fast food workers but it can be stopped.

Watch our No One Deserves A Serve advertising that calls out customers to respect fast food workers here.

McDonald’s has a legal responsibility to protect you at work. If you are abused by a customer on the job and don’t feel supported or that everything has been done to protect you, please get in touch with us.


How can you help support this work? 

With the support of SDA members like you, we can continue to campaign on this issue and make your store safer.

At the end of the day, your safety must come first. It is the SDA’s core business to ensure that your employer provides you with a safe workplace whether that’s through health and safety laws or directly taking up issues in your store.


Bullying is experienced by many SDA members at work, whether it’s by co-workers or your manager. Remember that it is your employer’s responsibility to provide you with a safe workplace.

The SDA is there to support you if you believe you are being treated unfairly at work. If you are experiencing bullying keep a record of the incidents and contact the SDA for advice.

Bullying and sexual harassment can have serious impacts on your mental and physical health. It’s important to report incidents and seek help when you need it.


Sexual harassment

2 in 5 SDA members have experienced or been exposed to workplace sexual harassment in the past 5 years.

The most commons forms are sexually suggestive comments or lewd jokes, intrusive questions about private life or appearance, inappropriate staring or leering and unwelcome touching, hugging, cornering or kissing.

This is unacceptable. Sexual harassment is not ok. Not ever.

You have a right to a safe workplace that is free from sexual harassment. Contact the SDA for support and representation.

The SDA has always and will continue to advocate for better policies and practices in workplaces that keep you safe and support you.

The SDA helps union members at McDonald’s every day with issues that come up at work.


A common issue is changing and cancelling shifts at last minute or after you’ve already got to work. We know that casuals often arrive to work only to be told their shift has been cancelled.

If you arrive to work and you haven’t been told your shift has been cancelled – you should be paid for that shift.

The Company cannot refuse to pay you for that shift if they have not contacted you prior to your shift starting.

Just because you’re casual, does not mean you don’t have rights at work. If you need help speaking up about this in your store, get in touch with us.


Remember, part-time employees should have a regular pattern of work and you must have agreed to your hours and days of work in writing.

If you’re full-time you must receive an average of 38 hours per week.

All permanent employees must be consulted about any changes to your roster and any changes must be made in writing before the change occurs. If you don’t agree to the proposed roster changes, don’t sign anything and contact the SDA for help.

Your new rates of pay under the Fast Food Industry Award applied from 3 February 2020.

This week you will be receiving your first payslip under the new Award.

It’s important to check that you have been paid correctly by looking at your payslip.

Remember, there are changes to pay including improvements to some penalty rates. Click here to view the full wage sheet.

Your pay and conditions have been fought for and won by the SDA and we will continue to ensure you receive what you’re entitled to. If something doesn’t look right, get in touch with us for help.

Your breaks were fought for and won by the SDA when the new Fast Food Industry Award was created.

Under the Award, your break entitlements are:

Your Paid Rest Breaks are a Right!

Under the Award you must be given your paid rest break as one continuous break- and you still have the right to go to the toilet or get a drink when necessary.

If you are being told that you don’t have the right to your paid break- contact the SDA for help.

Also, employees cannot work more than 5 hours without a meal break and it’s important to note your rights about breaks:

  • The timing of and having a break is to provide meaningful rest from work
  • The time for your rest and meal breaks are to be on your roster
  • You cannot be required to take a break within one hour of starting or ceasing work
  • You cannot be required to take a rest break combined with a meal break
  • You cannot work more than five hours without a meal break

Breaks help you work effectively, take them when they fall due.

Remember to check your payslip to ensure you have been paid for any relevant paid rest breaks.

On February 3 McDonald’s will transition to the Fast Food Industry Award which will outline your pay and conditions at work.

The Fast Food Industry Award includes important rostering protections fought for and won by your union the SDA.

For permanent workers

As your union, we’re here to make sure your current conditions at work are protected and maintained throughout this transition.

If you work part-time, you’re still entitled to your existing minimum hours of work under the Fast Food Industry Award.

You cannot be forced to reduce your hours or change to casual work.

As a part-time worker, you have important rights and conditions at McDonald’s including:

  • set shifts
  • a guaranteed minimum number of hours each fortnight
  • paid sick and annual leave
  • paid time off on public holidays

If you’re given a new contract or roster, you shouldn’t sign off on it without reading over it and making sure you agree to it. If you have any concerns, you should contact the SDA ASAP.

We strongly discourage any part-time workers from converting to casual work and one of our experienced Case Managers/Organisers/Industrial Officers will be able to explain and discuss these changes with you.

Here are a few key points about rostering under the Award:

Full-time employees: 

  • Must receive an average of 38 hours per week

Part-time employees: 

  • Must receive less than 38 hours per week but must have reasonably predictable hours of work
  • Have a regular pattern of work and must have agreed to their hours and days of work in writing
  • Any changes to your pattern of work must be made in writing before the change occurs

Casual employees: 

  • Must work at least 3 hours per shift

Remember, the SDA can help with any rostering disputes. If you are approached about changing your roster, do not sign anything you do not agree to.

Contact the SDA for advice before signing off on any changes to your roster, that way we can help if do not agree to it.

From Monday 3 February, your pay and conditions will change.

It’s important for you to know any significant changes so that you know your rights at work.


Leave entitlements 

Personal leave:

  • Full-time employees accrue 10 days of paid personal leave each year.
  • Part-time employees are entitled to 10 days personal leave which accrues on a pro-rata basis based on their hours of work.
  • Casual employees can take 48 hours unpaid carers leave if you need to care for someone that is sick or requires care in an emergency.


Paid annual leave:  Full-time employees accrue 4 weeks per year. Part-time employees accrue annual leave on a pro-rata basis.

When you take annual leave a 17.5% annual leave loading or the weekend penalty rates (whichever is higher) will also be paid on it. Also you may:

  • apply for annual leave advance,
  • cash out up to 2 weeks leave per year in some circumstances

Family and Domestic Violence leave: All employees, including casuals, are entitled to 5 days of unpaid leave to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence.


Remember, if you are required to wear a uniform or special clothing it should be provided to you or paid for by your employer. If you are required to launder your uniform, you will be paid $6.25 per week for full-timers and $1.25 for part-timers and casuals.

We are always here to help you at work, if you have any questions call the SDA.

Sign up to stay informed and show your support.