The health and wellbeing of 1.5 million retail workers deserves attention.

Retail represents over 1.5 million Australian workers.

This includes full-time and casual employees, managers, corporate support staff, delivery and back-of-house staff, franchisees and independent business owners.


Australia is currently facing a concerning increase in preventable chronic diseases and mental health issues. Retail workers represent a significant proportion of Australians impacted.

The issues


Impacts of COVID-19 on retail as frontline essential workers

Retail workers have been at the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic, weathering increased risk, stress and abuse to keep Australia fed and safe.


Increased retail crime and related violence

Retail workers are experiencing increased retail crime and related violence, with over 85% experiencing verbal or physical abuse while trying to prevent crime.

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Increased customer abuse and aggression

Retail workers are experiencing increased customer abuse and aggression, seemingly accepted as normal by society but creating long-lasting well being impacts and increasing exit from the profession.

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Increased exposure to societal risk

Retail workers are on the front line of dealing with societal issues as 'ad-hoc counsellors', such as managing individuals affected by drug or substance abuse.


High proportion experiencing domestic and family violence

Up to 100,000 retail workers are experiencing domestic and family violence, with 1 in 6 Australian women experiencing violence. 20% of these women say the violence continues at work and many lose their jobs.

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Increased risk of poor lifestyle choices including smoking

Retail workers represent a high proportion of smokers given their high-risk demographics and smokings rates are no longer going down.


Increased risk of poor lifestyle choices regarding nutrition

Retail workers are more likely to have poor nutrition and lack of non-work exercise creating long term health impacts including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

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change is needed to improve the health and wellbeing of retail workers

  • Retail workers should be recognised and prioritised as frontline essential service workers.

  • Crimes against retailers and their teams should be treated as, and responded to, as serious crime.

  • We need to change community attitudes that accept customer abuse of retail workers as the norm.

  • Greater community and social intervention is needed to tackle societal issues rather than expecting retail workers to be ad-hoc counsellors and law enforcement.

  • Retailers can play a critical part in identifying and supporting victims of domestic and family violence, and need support programs nationwide to provide tools and resources.

  • Given smoking rates reductions have stagnated and retail workers appear to be overindexed when it comes to smoking rates governments should consider new ways to reduce smoking rates, including properly regulating nicotine-based smoke-free alternatives which are not yet properly regulated and legally able to be sold in Australia.

  • Retail workers need more resources and education to improve their lifestyle choices such as smoking, nutrition and exercise, and also play a critical role in educating customers.

Raise your voice and thank essential retail workers.

  • Know a retail business owners, manager, support staff or employee ...or...
  • Worked in retail and need your voice to be heard ...or...
  • Witnessed some of the abuse and aggression taken out on retailers ...or...
  • Appreciate the challenges retailers face to feed and supply the nation ...or...
  • Believe retailers should be recognised & supported like essential workers?


The National Retail Association is championing awareness and change to address issues impacting the health & wellbeing of retail workers.

Join us in sharing a message of support for essential retail workers.

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The National Retail Association is a not-for-profit organisation that represents the interests of retailers across Australia.

We exist to support, inform, protect and represent the interests of retailers and fast food businesses. We understand the issues and opportunities facing retailers every day.

NRA Members can expect to receive the latest industry information, the fastest news updates and the best range of industry insights to help their business grow and succeed.

The retail industry plays a huge role in Australia’s economy, employment and greater livelihood and we are dedicated to helping unite retailers and stakeholders for the success of the industry now, and for the future.

Visit to learn more about how we can help your business.

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