You will never hear the term ‘Manchester‘ used to refer to bedding, sheets, linen, towels and other household fabrics anywhere outside Australia. Australians started using the word during the colonial era after none of the colonies successfully cultivated cotton plantations or developed cotton industry. The products were imported – largely from industrial Manchester -stamped with their point of origin. The name stuck. History aside, retailing Manchester today is complex. Aside from the usual commercial considerations, Manchester retailers must also think of their legal obligations. If you retail Manchester, this article discusses those legal considerations of which you need to be aware.
The most important legal issues that manchester retailers need to consider include:
- Employment Issues;
- Store Trading Hours; and
- Consumer Issues.
Like most other retail employees, employees in manchester retailers fall under the General Retail Industry Award. The award is national and came into effect on 1 January 2010.
The award provides the minimum standards that all manchester retailers must meet. It covers issues such as annual leave entitlements, penalty rates, appropriate breaks for staff on-shift and scheduling. The award exists not merely to protect employees. It also aims to bring certainty to employers who can then budget and plan accordingly.
As a retailer, you need to know what the award requires of you. You have a legal obligation to ensure that your employees receive all their entitlements. Pay particular note to the fact that your staff should receive penalty rates for working certain hours. Briefly, full-time and part-time staff receive a 25% loading if they work after 6 pm on a weekday or for regular hours on a Saturday. All employees, including those employed on a casual basis, are entitled to a 100% penalty payment for working on Sundays. On a public holiday, that payment increases to 150%.
Of course, meeting your obligations under the award is not the end of your employment responsibilities. As an employer, you are responsible for operating a workplace that is safe and free from harassment and discrimination. You also need to ensure that you make all superannuation payments necessary for your staff.
If you are unsure of your employer responsibilities or the award, the website for the Fair Work Commission is an excellent resource for general information. However, if you have legal questions that are unique to your store, you should carefully consider speaking with a qualified lawyer. Employment law is both complex and well-regulated. Clear and tailored advice could save you time and potential difficulty.
All state and territory governments regulate retail trading hours. Governments do this for a variety of reasons including ensuring that employees – particularly vulnerable ones – do not have to work outside of commonly accepted trading times.
The impact of these trading laws will depend on where you trade and the size of your store. In the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory retail trading hours are deregulated. However, all states have rules about when a store can trade.
For example, in South Australia, retail trading hours are regulated under the Shop Trading Hours Act 1977 (SA) (as amended by the Statutes Amendment (Shop Trading and Holidays) Act 2012 (SA)) and the Shop Trading Regulations 2003 (SA).
The South Australian regime operates according to location. There are several designated areas including the:
- CBD Tourist Precinct;
- Metropolitan Tourist District;
- Glenelg Tourist Precinct; and
- Proclaimed Shopping Districts.
The precinct in which you trade determines your trading hours. The legislation does provide for ‘exempt’ stores. These stores do not need to observe any regulation of their hours. A full list of exempt shops is available on the website for SafeWork SA. A retailer in South Australia can also apply to the appropriate South Australian Minister for special trading exemptions.
The South Australian regime also has defined rules for particular types of retailers including those who sell boats, motor vehicles, hardware and floor coverings. SafeWork SS has detailed guides to the various precincts on their website as well as easy to read information on applicable trading hours.
Remember that every state has their specific legislation regarding trading hours. You will need to know the regime applicable where you trade. Always check with your relevant government department.
Manchester retailers also have obligations under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) (Cth). The ACL operates nationally and is designed to provide consumers with correct information, rights and guarantees in the marketplace.
You must be able to honour all the consumer guarantees in the ACL. If your product fails a guarantee, you will need to provide the appropriate remedy. Also, you need to make sure that your products meet safety standards and that you can substantiate all the claims made on your products. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has the right to ask any supplier to do so.
If you need easy to read, general information on your consumer law obligations, the ACCC website is an excellent resource. However, operating a business is complex. Speaking with an experienced lawyer is a good idea. Contact LegalVision’s business lawyers to assist you. Questions? Call us on 1300 544 755 or contact us on this page.