Employee Protections at Work

My wife is a hard working full time sales staff in a retail store in Melbourne. She has been employed for 8 years and is one of their top salesperson. Over the last 7 years she regularly met or exceeded her monthly sales targets. In the past 16 months, they are doing it tough and the employer has closed down a number of their stores around Melbourne. The lease of my wife's store is up and the landlord is putting it up for lease on realestatecommercials. Her employer also put up a store front signage saying 'end of lease sale' hoping to boost sales. People walked in hoping to pick up a bargain but the price remains the same so people walked out.

This week her employer said to her they are disappointed with her sales figure and if it's not improved they want her to go work at a another store which is 40 mins drive from home. This other store's daily taking is also as bad so I don't know how she can improve if people are not spending. In my view her employer is putting pressure on her by changing her conditions of employment in the hope she'll resign so they don't have to terminate her employment and pay her redundancy entitlements. She already told them she does not agree to the change.

To date her employer has said nothing whether they will continue operating or close down the store. I'm guessing their lease ends next month and they are sneakily making up excuses in the hope she'll resign before they close down the store.

Hoping for any advice what we can/should do.

Comments

  • +7 votes

    If she sees they're about to close, why isn't she already seeking another job?

    • +1 vote

      might be waiting for a payout …

      •  

        You can look for a job but not take the first one that comes - or tell them you can start at xxx future date

      • +4 votes

        I'd rather take accrued annual leave and long service leave with me to a guaranteed job, than find myself out on my ass chasing a retail job among the others vying for those positions currently.

        Not to mention she has a legit reason to use in interviews (the store is closing) to make the reason easier.

  • +2 votes

    Not sure what you are actually expecting from the employer.

    If they have to close there's nothing you can do about it. Your wife will get her redundancy package if she's entitled to one.

    If she doesn't want to look for another job then she'll have to go to the other store. Personally I don't think 40min travel is that excessive or unusual these days, and I know people who'd be jealous of only 40 minutes travel.

    • +1 vote

      … or the company goes in administration and there may be a struggle to collect the final paycheck, much less any redundancy payout.

    •  

      I expect the employer to do the right things and pay out their staff and not putting undue pressure on their staff by changing their conditions of employment in the hope she leaves her job.

      Her employer is not saying the shop is closing and therefore she must go and work at the other store nor have they offer her redundancy package.

      • +4 votes

        I hope she is looking for a new job as we speak. She can pursue redundancy payout as a contingency and concurrently seek new employment.

        Failing to look for employment at this point is just riding a train with tracks leading off a cliff and hoping that beyond that cliff is a nice big puffy cloud. The cliff is the store closing and the puffy cloud is a redundancy payout. Only one is a certainty.

  • +2 votes

    8 years in retail wow

  • +3 votes

    Sounds like your wife may be stressed out. I'd go on stress leave to use up all sick leave owing.

  • +3 votes

    Employee Protections at Work

    Probably best to keep a diary of anything dodgy like that, like putting a sign up for closing down sale, issues with company, what boss has said (that their disappointed in sales even though they faked it with the sales sign etc). If theres any KPIs, what her typical sales are, what her current ones are etc. Just dates, time and what happened.

    Honestly sounds like the place is going to close down, she'll probably be asked to move, you refuse, hopefully redundancy.

    The question is, if they try to make a hic cup somewhere, or try something creative to not pay out to her, and thats when the log, keeping track of all her background, and if they do dodgy stuff may come in handy.

  • +2 votes

    has she spoken to the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union?

    or the Fair Work Ombudsman ?

    I'd be discussing the situation with them.

    also, what does your wifes contract say about employment location?

  • +1 vote

    A quick Google search shows that if they offer her employment 40mins away it could be considered a reasonable alternative position (obviously this is not legal advice or anything). Is there a reason why she can't work that far away, or she just doesn't want to? How far is she currently travelling? It looks like it may be a case by case basis thing.

    https://www.cciq.com.au/news/fair-work-commission-provides-g...
    https://www.aigroup.com.au/resourcecentre/hr/QA-HR/redundanc...

  • +2 votes

    Check and see if her Super has been actually been paid to her Super Fund lately… Might be https://www.rest.com.au/member

  •  

    a another store which is 40 mins drive from home.

    40 min isn't a long time to commute for work.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/the-one-thing-ab...

    Take the job at the other store or find a new job with a different employer.

    • +1 vote

      40 min drive to a office job, thats ok.
      40 min drive to a retail job, no thanks.

  •  

    Mod. Please close this post.

    • +3 votes

      Why? What's changed?

      •  

        Thanks everyone for your inputs and I'm happy to close the post. I'll know more in the coming weeks how things pan out. In summary my wife would be happy to take her redundancy payout…if and when she gets it and move on. From what I'm hearing, her employer is playing politics and wants her to resign before the shop shuts down.

        In my view, an employer can change an employee's work condition and the employee has the rights to review and accept/decline the change. If the employee does not accept the change then the employer has the option to make the employee redundant, pay out their entitlements and hire someone else. I have no issue with this outcome. What bugs me is that the shop lease is on the market so why now after 8 yrs on their top sales chart that they said they are not happy with her last month's sales performance and they are threatening her. I dont buy that. It's unfair on her after years of dedications to her job. We are prepare to go to Fair Work Ombudsman and dish it all out on the table.

        •  

          If they end up insolvent she will possibly never see any money. She should be looking for another job now and trying to cash out any annual leave, pro rata long service etc.

      •  

        OP is sick of us acting like pork chops.

        •  

          Hah…I do appreciate everyone taking the time to have a say. I jut didn't want to come across as a pain in the <blank>

  •  

    If the employer has < 15 employees there is no redundancy payout. Just your entitled accrued leave (not sick leave).
    So there is no use "waiting for the redundancy payout". There aint one.

  • +1 vote

    Sounds like a form of constructive dismissal, make sure she gets what she's owed

  •  

    Depends on her enterprise agreement/award. Get her to call her union for some advice.

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