The Fair Work Commission has ruled on Thursday that the Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for both full-time and part-time workers will be reduced. The rates will reduce by 25 to 50 percent. The rule will be applicable to three Aussie sectors – hospitality, fast-food and retail.
The commission added that the reduced penalty rates will mean increased hours of service and trade on public holidays and Sundays. According to The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), almost half a million people in the nation will lose up to $6,000 in a year after the ruling. This will include some of the lowest-paid workers.
The commission noted that the change in penalty rates will lead to hardship among few workers. “Many of these employees earn just enough to cover weekly living expenses,” Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross said.
Penalty Rates Reduction in Details
Retail and business niches will see a reduction of Sunday penalty rates from double time, which is 200 percent, to time-and-a-half, which amounts to 150 percent. This will be applicable in line with Saturday penalty cut.
While full-time and part-time hospitality workers will face a reduction from 175 percent to 150 percent, pharmacy people the rates will be cut from 200 percent to 150 percent. Sunday rates for casual workers will remain 175 percent in the case of hospitality workers while pharmacy casuals will witness reduction from 200 percent to 175 percent.
For fast-food and restaurant workers, Sunday penalty rates will be cut from 150 percent to 125 percent. Reduction rate for employees belonging to level two and level three will remain 150 percent. The penalty cuts for retail workers will be from 200 percent to 150 percent while for casuals, it will be from 200 percent to 175 percent.
Public holiday rates will slightly fall for all industries. For full-time or part-time workers in hospitality, pharmacy, fast-food, restaurant, and retail sectors, the penalty rates will be from 250 percent to 225 percent. For casuals, however, the rates will be from 275 percent to 250 percent. It is to be noted here that the percentage of penalty reduction for casual in the restaurant business will be different.
“The immediate implementation of the variations to Sunday penalty rates would inevitably cause some hardship to the employees affected, particularly those who work on Sundays,” Justice Ross said as quoted by the ABC. “We have concluded that appropriate transitional arrangements are necessary to mitigate the hardship caused to employees who work on Sundays. We have not reached a concluded view as to the form of those arrangements.”