Employees of Apple’s retail stores in Australia have reached agreement with the company on a four-year contract that covers pay, benefits and working conditions, but retail observers say Apple’s offer was barely over the retail industry’s current averages, and includes just two percent annual raises. The contract was approved by 90 percent of the company’s 2,372 retail store employees who voted at the country’s 21 stores. The agreement was certified today by the federal government’s Fair Work Commission (FWC), the national agency that performs wage reviews and sets minimum wage standards. Under the agreement, there are three levels of employee pay, and pay rates for both full-time and “casual” employees. When the agreement becomes effective this November 1st, starting pay for full-time Level 1 employees will be $20.95 per hour (all rates in U.S. dollars), and Level 2 will start at $25.26. Casual employees will receive 25 percent more per hour to offset fewer benefits. Level 3 employees are management, and will receive a base annual pay of $72,779. The Level 1 base pay represents a 25 percent premium over the current $16.69 Australian minimum wage. However, the annual pay increases are less than the FWC’s 2.6 percent increase in the 2013 minimum wage.
It’s impossible to compare the new Australia pay rates to other regions or countries. Apple keeps its retail store employee wages confidential, even among the employees. Although it’s known that the company uses a tiered salary structure in the United States based on geographic regions, no one has ever been able to compile a complete collection of job positions and pay rates.
Beyond the hourly wage, Apple pays 9.25 percent into a retirement “superannuation” fund for each employee.
Under the previous five-year 2009 agreement, Level 1 employees received a base pay of $18.05 per hour, and Level 2 employee received $20.63. The base salary for Level 3 employees was $61.159 yearly when the contract was signed in 2009.
The increase in base pay rates between the 2009 and 2014 agreements is about 16 percent.
Level 1 employees include those responsible for receiving goods; display, shelf filling, replenishment of goods; and provision of information, advice and assistance to customers; demonstration of goods and services for sale; processing of sales and/or any financing/leasing documentation; provision of store greeting; repairs and technical assistance; and provision of administrative support. The standard description to corresponds to the Apple Specialist and Genius positions.
Level 2 employees are those, “who may be required to work at a level higher than an Apple Team Member Level 1, and/or supervise a designated area of the store,” the agreement states. Level 3 employees are engaged to perform supervisory or managerial duties within a retail establishment, directly performs any other management or leadership roles in a store, including Business Leader, Store Leader and Market Leader.
Beyond the pay rates, the agreement sets out grievance procedures. working hours, how overtime is calculated, meal and rest breaks, suspensions and late night work. There are also sections that set out procedures for “Leaving Apple,” that is, termination during or after the six-month probation, and “Redundancy,” when a job position is no longer needed. Employees must receive a certain amount of notice, and will be paid up to 20 weeks in wages if they are laid off (up to six years of service).
Interestingly, the agreement also covers “Bag/Locker Inspections,” the subject of a United States federal lawsuit filed by a group of ex-Apple retail employees. In this case, the agreement simply states, “Apple may conduct random bag and or locker inspections at any time. You will be required to participate and fully co-operate and present your bag/locker or personal effects for inspection.”
A meal allowance of $17.32 is provided if an employee works more than 76 hours within a two-week period, and for working past his/her regular shift under certain circumstances.
Under the agreement, Apple store employees are permitted to take two hours off from work to donate blood, up to four times a year. Employees with a first-aid qualification are paid an extra $29.56 every two weeks. The contract also covers “Community Service Leave,” but doesn’t describe the benefit.
Download (pdf) both the 2014 and 2009 agreements.