Working in fashion retail means more spending than earning

Love my bling?  It all came out of my paycheque...

Love my bling? It all came out of my paycheque…

Retail staff across well known fashion chains including Diva, Lovisa and Sportsgirl are being forced to purchase stock out of their own wages in order to work at those stores.

However, such employment conditions are against the law, with the Fair Work Act claiming that if employers require staff to wear “special” items, there must be provision of clothing or reimbursement made to the employee.

But this is not happening at all.  Working in retail for many young females has become more of an out of pocket expenditure exercise in order to attain and maintain employment.

Since when has it become the norm for workers to have to pay to work?

I work at a fashion accessories store in Sydney (not one mentioned above) and am required to wear at least three pieces of jewellery per shift from the latest ranges.  Whilst there is a 50% staff discount on products, nonetheless hard earned wages are being injected back into the employer’s cashflow through staff purchases.

And it’s not about buying a couple of accessories as a one-off and repeating those pieces in a mix and match manner.

As a new collection is launched, there is the obligation to wear representative pieces and discard old stock from your work wardrobe.  It’s time to get the customers ‘in the mood for Preppy Pastels”!

Just a fraction of my earring collection...

Just a fraction of my earring collection…

Saturdays are layering days so that means three to four necklaces and a massive arm party of chunky bangles.

One of the tricks I’ve learnt from working in retail for 8 months is buying signature, statement pieces that will stand the test of time.  For example thick, gold chains and silver hoops will always be staple items stocked by the store every season so this will prevent repeat expenditure on my part.

But nonetheless, what is happening here is unacceptable and there really should be a crackdown.

If employers would like their retail staff to be walking advertisements and proud advocates of their products, surely they should compensate – not the employees themselves. reported on this matter a few weeks ago, with acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell telling the publication that “it was not appropriate for employers to force staff to buy specific clothing from their store to wear to work unless they pay for the clothes or reimburse them.”

Do you work in retail?  Are you forced to buy your employer’s products?

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