Retail & Hospitality Workers Just Got Slapped W/ A Big Penalty Rate Cut

Welp. That’s it then – the Fair Work Commission has determined that Sunday and public holiday penalty rates will be reduced for hospitality, retail and fast food workers, in a move that the commission acknowledged would likely cause hardship to some workers.

The rate has not been cut to the extent demanded by business and their lobbyists, who wanted Sunday and public holiday rates reduced to Saturday levels. As per the report, these are the changes:
  • Full-time and part-time hospitality workers will have their Sunday penalty rate cut from 175 per cent to 150 per cent.
  • Full-time and part-time retail workers will have their Sunday penalty rate cut from 200 to 150 per cent
  • Full-time and part-time fast food workers will have their rate cut from 150 per cent to 125 per cent.
Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross acknowledged that Sundays were still more inconvenient or unsociable to work than Saturdays for many workers, but also argued that lower penalty rates will encourage extended trading hours and an increase in “the level and range of services offered.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who has opposed the changes over the past few years of the debate, tweeted his disappointment at the decision. He previously said Labor would legislate to protect workers whose income would be reduced by the change, but he has not outlined specific mechanisms here.

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.

This is a bad day for working Australians. [Struggling workers won’t be able to survive on a 25 or 30 per cent pay cut. We are on the way to seeing a whole class of working poor in this country. We are talking about people who do not earn a fortune. The retail industry made a very healthy operating profit last year. They can afford to pay people decently.

We’ll keep you posted on the specifics of what’s happened and the reactions.
Source: ABC.
Photo: Black Books.