Young People Just Copped Another Hit: Penalty Rates Have Just Been Slashed

25 February, 2017, 00:42 | Author: Kristopher Anderson
  • The Fair Work Commission has announced Sunday and public holiday penalty rates will be cut

Fast-food employees' Sunday rates will go from 150 per cent to 125 per cent for full-time and part-time staff, and casuals will go from 200 per cent to 175 per cent.

Australian Coucil of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney slammed the decision, saying it will assist in creating a class of working poor people such as in the United States.

"People whose pay is going to be cut. will simply have to work more hours to make up that take-home pay", she said.

Just in case you missed it, the Fair Work Commission has made waves by handing down a decision which cuts penalty rates for a large number of employees across the country.

The Fair Work Commission has decided hospitality and retail workers deserve less pay.

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.

It stated that the primary justification for penalty rates was to compensate employees for having to work outside "normal" hours.

As things stand, Geoff Bannister owner of two Mug Life cafes in Potts Point and Pyrmont which specializes in selling a range of doughnuts known as Dr Dough Donuts has to pay his cafe workers 150 per cent penalty rates on Sunday.

"It will mean that people will be forced to make up for that cut, whether it is through getting a second or third job, whether it's through becoming more dependent on their family and friends or turning to or becoming more dependent on welfare", she said.

Hunter Business Chamber chief executive Bob Hawes said he respected "all manner of views" on penalty rates, but refuted "diabolical predictions".

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"Why is it fair for people to work on Sunday and not be giving their penalties?"

"Today's decision will encourage operators to offer more shifts and open longer hours for customers".

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

Further, Steve Knott, CEO of the resource industry employer group AMMA, said their organisation welcomes the decision to reduce Sunday Penalty Rates from double-time (200%) to time-and-a-half (150%) for most industries.

"No one working for Lush Australia will be adversely affected by Fair Work's announcement", the company told its staff. While young people might be able to catch up with some areas of social life outside of the weekend, their parents and older family members are more likely to work in the week, making it hard to find time to spend together as a family.

Cosmetics chain Lush has told its 580 Australian employees that it will keep paying them existing penalty rates on Sundays or public holidays.

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

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said workers had been "kicked in the guts".

As a result, employees working in the retail, fast food, hospitality and pharmacy industries can all expect to see their Sunday wages cut from July 1.

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