Sunday and Public Holiday Penalty Rates Cut

The Fair Work Commission has reduced penalty rates paid in retail, fast food, hospitality and pharmacy industries from existing levels, which, in some cases, are as much as "double time".

Hospitality workers will see their penalty wage cut from 175 per cent to 150 per cent, while in retail, full and part-time wages will be reduced from double the standard rate to 150 per cent, and casual Sunday wages will be cut from double to 175 per cent.

However, ACTU President Ged Kearney said the FWC's decision to radically cut Sunday and public holiday pay will give nearly one million Australian workers a huge pay cut.

"I'm certainly not into exploiting workers, we reward our staff", she said.

HUNTER unions have slammed a shock Fair Work Commission ruling to slash Sunday penalty rates as "going backwards", and urged workers who fear they will be taken advantage of by their employer to speak out.

Josh Cullinan, secretary of the newly formed Retail and Fast Food Workers Union, said that the flurry of new agreements may still fail to be approved by the industrial umpire unless there was substantial change to the expired agreements to improve conditions.

Changes to penalty rates are set to be implemented from July this year, but the FWC has determined "appropriate transitional arrangements" are required for Sunday penalty rate reductions to "mitigate the hardship caused to employees".

"This is an attack on people who already struggle to survive and for whom penalty rates make an important difference from week to week", the society's National Council CEO, Dr John Falzon, said.

Full-time and part-time fast food workers will have their rate cut from 150 per cent to 125 per cent.

"We have had a penalty system created to keep stores and cafes closed on Sunday so we could all go to church but the world changed when retail gained the flexibility to open - and customers love it". However, casuals workers will still get 175%.


Do you agree or disagree with the Fair Work Commission's ruling?

THE STATE'S peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber, believes the decision of the full bench of the Fair Work Commission in its four yearly review of modern awards is the first step in addressing a major issue in workplace relations and politicians looking for short term political gain to prevent its intention should be called out by the electorate.

Trent Hunter a retail worker from Penrith and Evelyn Kathner who works at Spotlight in Campbelltown said the cuts would be devastating to them.

Hospitality and retail employees will also see their public holiday rates cut from 250 per cent to 225 per cent.

Now that the decision has landed there are widespread predictions that these deals will now be progressed once the cuts take effect from July.

Businesses have been lobbying for the changes since 2015, arguing that reducing penalty rates would lead to greater employment and longer trading hours.

With 700,000 working-age Australians without jobs and substantial under-employment, we should be asking why unemployment is higher and real wages growth lower today than following the deregulation efforts of Keating and Howard.

The decision to cut wages in industries where the majority of the workforce is under 25, while shocking, should come as no surprise.

Kiejda added that the decision had wound back decades of progression in workers' rights and threatened the livelihoods of those who need it most.

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