Sunday penalty and public holiday rates to be slashed

The growing number of women in part-time employment has been helping to prop up the economy, but could that change by a decision reduce Sunday penalty rates for retail and hospitality industries?

Rough Diamond owner Henry Bird said the changes would mean he could consider opening his business on a Sunday.

For full-time and part-time retail employees, public holiday penalty rates will drop from 250% to 225%.

"Some may think "I may as well work an extra few hours during the week", she said. For casuals the rate will be reduced from 200% to 175%.

No change to Sunday penalty rates for level two and three employees in that award.

At the time of writing, a petition urging Malcolm Turnbull to take action on the rates decision had aproximately 13,000 signatures. The rates for casuals will fall from 200 per cent to 175 per cent. Part-time positions account for well over a third of our workforce while a third of single job holders and 57 per cent of multiple job holders regularly work on weekends.

Selina Wade, a long-time hospitality worker, is concerned about changes to penalty rates.

Casual hospitality workers will get a 250% loading on public holidays instead of the current 275%, while retail workers than now receive a 275% public holiday loading will also be brought down to 250%.

"I rely on the penalty rates to make ends meet and to pay for my fuel, my rent and to pay for my food".

Yet for all these industries, the world is now a 24/7 event for workers, businesses, and consumers alike.

Parties are invited to make submissions on the provisional views of the commission.

Workers gathered outside the offices of the Fair Work Commission in Melbourne in the lead up to the announcement.

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In handing down it's decision this week, the Commission said its decision would "inevitably cause hardship" to employees who include among the lowest paid in the country.

He wrote on Twitter the Prime Minister had got what he had long wanted.

The Full Bench of the commission agreed with the argument that there were likely to be some positive employment effects from reducing penalty rates but said they were hard to quantify.

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Campbelltown MP Greg Warren (Labor) was said he was fuming.

"The hospitality and accommodation sector is seen as an industry with tremendous potential to deliver results and jobs for the Australian economy".

"Reducing these rates from double time to time and a half, will increase retail growth nationally and reduce the unemployment rate in Australia", he said.

ACTU president Ged Kearney said some people would lose up to $6000 a year because of the move.

"Today people expect to be able to shop, buy a meal or a drink at all hours of the day, while large numbers of workers actually prefer to work outside a "9 to 5" weekday regime because it suits their lifestyle, studies or family circumstances. Don't let them. They've laid the groundwork for years".

'We believe that parliament will have a capacity to consider remedying this decision, ' he said.

The Sunday pay cuts take effect from July, while Saturday penalties will remain the same.

  • Ronnie Bowen