With today being July 1st, not only do thousands of Australian workers have to be on alert for that one weird unit dishing out pinches/punches for first of monthers, but their paycheques will be taking a significant hit as well thanks to a reduction in penalty rates.

The new financial year heralds the arrival of yet another round of penalty rate cuts, as the Coalition Government moves to further slash the Sunday pay rates of workers.

While today also marks the arrival of a 3% bump in the minimum wage, bringing that bottom line up to $19.49 per hour – equal to a modest $21.60 extra per week for award-dependent workers – cuts in Sunday pay rates will heap extra financial and time pressure on scores of workers in the retail, hospitality, and fast food industries. And that’s pain that’s only set to increase over the coming years.

These cuts represent drops of between 10% and 15%, depending on the industry, in Sunday penalty rates.

For workers in the retail sector, full- and part-time employees will cop a 15% drop in rates, from 180% loading down to 165%. Casual retail works will be slugged 10%, taking their Sunday loading rates down to 175%.

In the fast food sector, contract workers will have their Sunday rates wound down down to 125%, while casual workers are being brought down to 150% loading.

Hospitality workers on full- and part-time contracts are being hauled back down to 150% loading for Sundays. Casual workers in this sector are one of the few to escape the sting of the rollbacks, maintaining a 175% overall loading. Whether individual businesses choose (legally or not) to pass that on to employees, however, remains another question entirely.

Finally, the pharmacy sector award rates are being pulled back as well, with non-shiftworkers now entitled to 165% Sunday loading, while casual employees are brought down to 190% overall.

The SDA union estimates that these cuts will cost workers in the retail sector alone some $1.64billion in lost wages. National secretary Gerard Dwyer asserted that not only were the continued cuts grossly unfair, but that any previous suggestion from the Morrison Government that they would stimulate jobs growth has now been “shattered.”

On July 1, retail and fast food workers will again be hit with a massive, unfair cut to their take home pay as Sunday penalty rates are cut for the third time.”

Retail and fast food workers have already had two cuts to their Sunday penalty rates and public holiday rates were slashed in 2017. Given these are some of the lowest paid workers in the country, these penalty rate cuts for retail, fast food and hospitality workers are extraordinarily unfair. There is no doubt this will hurt family budgets right across the country as workers struggle to meet the rising costs of rent, petrol, groceries and utility bills.

None of the jobs or economic growth promised by the Morrison Government and business community as a result of these penalty rate cuts have materialised. Even the Small Business Council admits the cuts have not created any extra jobs”

In fact, the only real results of these penalty rate cuts have been a significant loss of income for some of Australia’s lowest paid workers and a weakening economy.

Looking ahead one year, here’s how much Sunday penalty rates are set to be cut as of July 1 2020:


  • Full- and part-time workers: Down 15% to 150%
  • Casual workers: Steady at 175%


  • Full- and part-time workers: Steady at 125%
  • Casual workers: Steady at 150%


  • Full- and part-time workers: Steady at 150%
  • Casual workers: Steady at 175%


  • Full- and part-time workers: Down 15% to 150%
  • Casual workers: Down 15% to 175%

Coincidentally enough, today also represents the day a significant pay-rise for politicians also comes into affect. Prime Minister Scott Morrison in particular is reported to be receiving a bump in pay worth just shy of $11,000 per year, with his overall salary now sitting at $549,229 per annum.

Image: AAP