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How do retail workers get a pay rise?

Australian retail workers will receive a pay rise on 1 July 2018.

The wage increase is 3.5% to the minimum wage and wages in Modern Awards, including the General Retail Industry Award (Retail Award).

Thousands of retail workers will benefit from the pay rise won by Australian Unions and supported by the SDA, the Union for retail and fast food workers.

It’s important for retail wages to go up in line with the rising cost of living but pay rises don’t fall out of the sky – they are won by the hard work of SDA union members.

Read more about wages in the retail industry

The Retail Award sets out the minimum wages and conditions for the retail industry.

Each year, the Fair Work Commission, Australia’s national workplace relations tribunal, determines what pay rise, if any, should be passed on to the minimum wage and workers covered by Modern Awards.

This is called the Annual Wage Review and generally the decision is determined by the Fair Work Commission in May or June before coming into effect on 1 July each year.

Before the decision is made by the Fair Work Commission, unions and employer lobby groups are invited to make submissions to the review.

Unions collectively argue for fair and decent pay rises each year to ensure wages go up as the cost of living continues to rise.

Employer lobby groups make submissions each year too often arguing for a small increase or no increase at all.

The Fair Work Commission considers these submissions and other relevant information before handing down the determination.


Each year unions argue for wages to go up by making a comprehensive submission to the Annual Wage Review.

As the Union for retail workers, the SDA knows how important it is for workers receive a pay rise each year – whether it’s for paying the rent and bills, saving for a home or using it for textbooks.

We consider the rising cost of living and put forward our arguments about why workers deserve fair and decent pay rises.

Working for retail wages to go up is only possible with the support of SDA union members standing up for better pay across Australia.

If you are covered by the Retail Award, you can check your pay using our calculator or view the retail wages table relevant to you.

Make sure you check your pay slip on the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2018 to ensure you’re receiving the right pay.