Although initial award wages are not particularly high in the retail industry, better paid roles are within the reach of anyone prepared to learn and take on challenges. As you gain experience, skills, qualifications and increased responsibility, your salary increases. In addition, the modernisation of the industrial awards has improved conditions - for example, now casual workers must be given at least 24 hours notice to be engaged.
To guide what employees should legally be paid industry refers to the 'Award wage'. An award describes the pay and conditions to be provided by employers for employees of that classification of job. There are Federal and State Awards.
The award rate is the minimum rate of pay for a particular classification in an award. Payments over the award rate are quite common and are referred to as 'over-award' payments. Bonus payments for achieving specific sales targets are an example. State Award information is available from Safework SA at www.safework.sa.gov.au or Federal Award information at www.wagenet.gov.au
Many retailers employ their staff under Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBAs). This may vary the rates of pay and certain employment conditions from the awards. Apprenticeships and traineeships are based on the principle of 'earn while you learn'. This means you get paid a base wage lower than a fully skilled employee, but you are still receiving a financial benefit while you study as opposed to university where you generally pay to learn.