SDA During COVID-19

Across Australia the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19 (or coronavirus) is impacting everyone in our community.

The SDA has been busy working on a range of different initiatives to protect retail, fast food, and warehouse workers’ health, safety and job security.


Health & Safety

The health and safety of SDA members who have continued to work has been a priority during the coronavirus pandemic.

Your employer must be doing everything they can to provide you with a safe workplace and have COVID safety policies that protect you during this time.

The SDA has been engaging daily with employers, Safe Work Australia and governments on arrangements being put in place to keep workers safe during the pandemic.

A range of safety measures have already been introduced across the industry thanks to the SDA, which include the supply of alcohol based hand sanitiser, increased security, enforcing social distancing, plexiglass screens installed at cash registers and the promotion of ‘cash free’ transactions.

The SDA will continue to do work in this space to ensure everyone’s health and safety is protected as we gradually transition back to normal trading.


Essential service payment for frontline workers

The SDA has called for a $5 per hour increase for workers as an essential service payment during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Such a payment properly recognises frontline workers including those at supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations and convenience stores.

If you worked during shutdown periods, you are considered essential, whether you’re a retail, pharmacy, fast food or warehouse worker.

At the height of the lockdown many members were working around the clock under extremely difficult circumstances - it’s only fair their wages should reflect their efforts to keep Australia running during that time.

The SDA’s petition calling for an essential service payment has been filled out by over 41,000 Australian workers.

Costco, Woolworths and Coles have now all responded to the SDA’s campaign. Costco has been paying employees an additional hourly amount and Woolworths have committed to a recognition payment for their employees (specifics to be finalised at the time of writing). At the time of writing Coles had just announced a 4 tier recognition payment with different amounts for Dept Managers, Full timers, Part Timers and Casuals.

The SDA continues to engage employers and the Government to recognise the efforts of frontline workers with a temporary pay rise.


Special Paid Leave

The SDA and Australian Unions have called for two weeks special paid leave for ALL workers who are required to self-isolate because of COVID-19 regardless of whether they are permanent, part-time, casual or a contract worker.

We have secured paid leave for casual staff at:

  • Woolworths (including Supermarkets, Dan Murphy’s, BWS and Big W)
  • EG Group (formerly Woolworths Petrol)
  • Officeworks
  • Target
  • Kmart
  • IKEA

We have secured: additional paid leave for part-time and full-time staff if they do not have personal leave available at:

  • Woolworths (including Supermarkets, Dan Murphy’s, BWS and Big W)
  • Target
  • Kmart
  • Myer
  • EG Group (formerly Woolworths Petrol)
  • IKEA
  • KFC
  • Costco


JobKeeper Wage Subsidy

The SDA, along with Australian Unions and businesses called for the Federal Government to provide wage subsidies for workers and employers to save incomes and jobs.

The SDA pushed hard for a wage subsidy that would keep employees connected to their employers and create job security during a period when businesses were being forced to shut down.

In great news for workers, the Federal Government listened to our calls and announced a wage subsidy scheme for businesses and workers affected by COVID-19.

This means all full-time, part-time and casual workers (casuals need to have been employed by more than 12 months) of eligible employers will receive this JobKeeper payment of $1500 a fortnight (less tax) backdated to March 30.

This amount will be paid directly to employers, who will then have an obligation to pass this full payment onto workers.

For more information on JobKeeper, visit our site:


Respect Retail and Fast Food Workers

The SDA, the National Retailers Association (NRA), Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the Shopping Centre Council of Australia came together to call on all Australians to treat retail workers with respect while they continue to serve and ensure the community can access essential goods and services such as food and groceries.

The ‘No One Deserves A Serve’ campaign was ramped up again to remind shoppers of the impact their behaviour can have on workers.

We continue to call on the community to show all retail and fast food workers the respect they deserve during this time, there is no excuse for abuse and violence.

If you experience any abuse or violence from a customer, report it. Share our message with customers to respect retail workers.


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