Retail, hospitality workers face penalty rate cut

Posted February 25, 2017

The changes, implemented by the Fair Work Commission, will reduce rates for retail, fast food and hospitality employees by as much as a quarter from July.

Hospitality and retail workers would see their Sunday and Public Holiday rates cut. "Pharmacists are health professionals and their contribution needs to be recognised and remunerated in a different way to that of other retail workers", Mr Demarte says.

Thus, a primary element of the commission's rationale for reducing Sunday penalty rates is to remove the deterrent effect that was part of the original design of those rates.

The Business Council chief executive, Jennifer Westacott, said the commission had "taken a step in the right direction towards modernising penalty rates to better reflect our 24/7 existence".

On a public holiday, full-time and part-time workers will have their penalty rate reduced from double-time-and-a-half, to double-time-and-a-quarter.

"Any suggestion by Bill Shorten and the Labor Party that they do not accept this decision is highly hypocritical".

The penalty rates remain in the awards, just at a lower level.

Do you agree or disagree with the Fair Work Commission's ruling? That's no longer the world we live in.

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It's a question university student, Claire*, had agonised over for a number a months before the Fair Work Commission ruling on Thursday effectively pulled money from her pocket.

Trent Hunter a retail worker from Penrith and Evelyn Kathner who works at Spotlight in Campbelltown said the cuts would be devastating to them. "The decision of the Fair Work Commission is not good for workers and ultimately we do not believe it is good for business either", Gallagher says.

The Commission accepted the case of the Productivity Commission that reduced penalty rates could increase employment however "this is hard to quantify", and also accepted the case put forward by businesses that a reduction would increase the level and range of services on Sundays and public holidays.

So while the Australian economy remains slow, job opportunities remain slim and housing and education costs keep rising, vulnerable young workers just took another massive hit.

While weekend penalty rates are not a big issue for resource employers, whose employees are typically on annualised salaries and are among the best remunerated in the country, we support any decision which moves our workplace relations system in a more competitive direction and provides employers with savings to invest into employing more staff.

AHA CEO Stephen Ferguson said the AHA supports workers being remunerated extra for working on weekends and public holidays.

"It seems to have escaped those making this decision that rent in Australia is at an all-time high".

It also took into consideration the penalty rates in awards applying to similar industries. "It has so many tentacles and consequences that's going to cause this for not only myself but for everybody here and for the thousands of workers that are working now or at home".