know your workplace rights


For all your questions about SDA Membership, Membership Payment, Member Benefits, Getting Involved With The SDA, and Your Workplace Rights.

Can’t find your question here? Get in touch by phone or email and our expert team will help you out!

SDA Membership

What is a union?

A union is an organisation of workers who join together to achieve common workplace goals through collective bargaining. A union represents workers in a particular industry by negotiating for job security, fair pay and better working conditions. A union provides members with workplace information, support and advice, shop floor representation when a problem arises, and legal representation for underpayments, unfair dismissals and workers compensation.

What can the SDA do for me?

The SDA can negotiate your wages and conditions with your employer and in Awards so that you don’t have to. We can provide workplace information and support if you have a problem at work. If things get serious, the SDA provides free legal representation for unfair dismissals, underpayments and workers compensation.

Who can join the SDA?

Any worker working in the retail, fast food, warehousing, hair and beauty, and modelling industries can join the SDA.

What happens if I join the SDA and need help with a pre-existing issue?

If you’re not a member, we can’t help you. If you have a pre-existing issue when you join, we are unable to help you with that particular issue. However, we will be able to help you with all workplace issues that arise after you’ve joined the SDA.

Do I need to join the union if I get on well with my boss?

Joining the SDA is important even if you get along well with your employer. You never know what may happen to you in the course of your employment – your employer may change or you might get injured at work. The SDA protects you at work no matter what happens and has a wealth of information about your work rights and your pay and conditions.

Can I join if no one else in my workplace is a union member?

Yes, you can join the SDA and have full access to all the benefits of union membership even if there are no other union members in your workplace.

Can I be sacked for joining the union?

No. You have a right to be a union member and that right is protected under General Protections provisions of the Fair Work Act. You do not need to disclose your union membership to your employer unless you wish to.

Should I join the union even if I’ll only be working here for a short time?

Yes. Union membership provides a range of benefits no matter how long you’re in the job for, including crucial information about your pay and conditions.

Do I have to tell my employer if I join the union?

No. You do not have to tell your employer that you are a member of the union unless you wish to.

My employer says I’m not allowed to join the union - is this true?

No. You have a right to be a union member and that right is protected under General Protections provisions of the Fair Work Act. You do not need to disclose your union membership to your employer unless you wish to.

Why should I join the union if I get exactly the same wages and benefits without joining?

Workers who are not members of the SDA do not receive the advice, support and representation of the union when things go wrong at work. As a member of the SDA, you’re never alone at work. The more members we have, the better outcomes we can achieve to improve your wages and working conditions.

Will I receive insurance cover as a union member?

The SDA provides free accident insurance of up to $47,000 for accidents outside of the work to members who join online as direct debit members.

How do I transfer my SDA membership when I change jobs?

If you change jobs you can easily update your details online in the Members Area of our website or call to let us know on 8139 1000.

What happens if I want to leave the SDA?

If you would like to resign your membership, send an email in writing to

Membership Payment

What are the membership fees?

You can choose to pay fortnightly via direct debit from your bank account or your credit card. Member fees are calculated according to the amount of hours you expect to work (inclusive of GST):

  • 1 to 9 hours per week: $9.00 per fortnight
  • 10 to 19 hours per week: $16.10 per fortnight
  • 20 hours or more per week: $22.60 per fortnight

What are the payment methods?

You can choose to pay fortnightly via direct debit from your bank account or your credit card.

Are membership fees tax deductible?

Your member fees are 100% tax deductible. At the end of the financial year when you file your tax return, you can claim your membership fees as a deduction.

How do I change my payment method?

You can change your payment method by contacting the SDA on 8139 1000.

Member Benefits

What are the extra member benefits?

There are a range of extra benefits for SDA Members. This includes a Frequent Values membership each year for all members as part of Entertainment Book.

You receive discount coupons for take-away restaurants, restaurants, leisure activities, travel, hotels and accommodation all year round.

The SDA also holds free movie nights and free family fun days across South Australia, the Northern Territory and Broken Hill each year for SDA members.

What competitions can I enter?

The SDA runs several competitions through the year, including tickets to Clipsal 500 V8 car race and the Royal Adelaide Show.

What publications will I receive from the union?

The SDA sends out regular Members News Magazines throughout the year free for SDA members.

What communications will I receive from the union?

The SDA keeps members informed regularly about their wages and conditions and updated with important industrial information.

Getting Involved With The SDA

How do I become a Workplace Delegate or a Health & Safety Rep?

To become a workplace delegate or health and safety rep, register your interest online on our website or speak to your SDA Union Organiser.

What does being a Workplace Delegate involve?

A Delegate is a shop floor worker trained by the SDA to assist members at their workplace. Delegates are the vital link between SDA members on the shop floor and the SDA. Delegates keep SDA members informed about important workplace issues and assist SDA members to resolve concerns at a store level.

Responsibilities and benefits of being a Workplace Delegate include:

  • Paid ongoing training for the role.
  • Assisting SDA members with employment enquiries.
  • Approaching management if a member feels that they can’t do it on their own.
  • Educating other employees about the SDA and how they can join.
  • Assisting members by being a witness in meetings at work.
  • Access to specialist officers to help you manage and resolve issues.
  • The support of the largest union in Australia.

What does being a SDA Health & Safety Rep involve?

SDA Health & Safety Reps are normal workers who make the workplace safer for their fellow workers.

Trained Health & Safety Reps ensure the highest standards of workplace health and safety are maintained and they’re ready to take up any safety issues with employers and follow a process to resolve them.

All Health & Safety Reps are entitled to paid training of up to 5 days each year.

It’s an important and rewarding role, and your workmates will appreciate the effort you put into it.

Workplace Rights - What Should I Do?

I think I’m being underpaid. What can I do?

Call the SDA to talk to an SDA Case Manager. They will help work out the amount of your underpayment and will take the issue up with your employer on your behalf.

I told my employer I was pregnant and my shifts have been cut. What can I do?

Your employer should not cut your shifts because you’re pregnant. Call the SDA to speak to an SDA Case Manager about your rights at work when you’re pregnant. They will help you work out how to approach the issue with your employer and can attend any meetings with you.

My employer sacked me and I think it was unfair. What can I do?

The SDA provides free legal representation for unfair dismissals. Talk to an SDA Lawyer about how you can lodge an unfair dismissal claim.

I’m being bullied at my workplace. What can I do?

All workers have a right to work in a safe environment free from bullying and harassment. You should tell the person bullying you that you are not comfortable with their behaviour. If the bullying or harassment continues, you should report it to your manager, keep records of all incidents and contact the SDA for help.

My friend is being bullied at our workplace. What can we do?

Bullying impacts on all workers in the workplace. You should report all incidents of bullying to your manager. The SDA can help with this process by providing advice and representation.

I was injured at work. What can I do?

If you’re injured at work, you should tell your manager immediately and follow these steps:

  • See YOUR CHOICE of treating doctor and obtain a Return to Work Certificate of Capacity (for medical expenses and/or time off work).
  • Fill in an Incident Report Form, even if you don’t make a workers’ compensation claim.
  • Get a Return to Work SA Claim Form and Information Kit on your rights from your admin office.
  • Complete the claim form and hand it in at work with your medical certificate and any medical bills.
  • Contact the SDA for advice and support.

I need to report a workplace hazard. How do I do it?

You should report a workplace hazard to your manager immediately  and then follow your workplace health and safety guides. For more information about reporting hazard, contact the SDA.