Hospitality And Retail Workers To Have Their Sunday and Public Holiday Pay Slashed

Hospitality, retail and fast food sector employees will see their Sunday and public holiday rates cut in a landmark decision, The Fair Work Commission has announced.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) reveals that nearly half a million people would lose up to $6,000 a year – these are some of the lowest paid people in the country.

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The Changes

“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,” says Fair Work Commission President Justice Iain Ross.

“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.”

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New Hospitality Rates

Sunday rates for full time workers and part time workers will be reduced from 175 per cent to 150 per cent. Casuals will stick to 175 per cent of the base rate.

New Retail Rates

Sunday rates for full time and part time workers will drop from 200 per cent to 150 per cent. Casual rates will drop from 200 per cent to 175 per cent.

New Fast Food Industry Rates

Sunday rates for full time and part time workers will drop from 150 per cent to 125 per cent. Casuals will drop from 175 per cent to 150 per cent.

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‘Bad Day For Workers In This Country’

However, the Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney says the ruling was “a bad day for workers in this country”, adding millions of the lowest-paid workers will lose out.

“How realistic is it to ask the lowest paid workers to take a pay cut of up to $6000 a year,” she said.

“We would not accept any cut to take home pay. We’re talking about people who don’t earn a fortune… This needs to be stopped. We will not have a class of working poor in this country.”

It’s believed the cuts would lead to increased services and trading hours on public holidays and Sundays.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said in an official statement that the decision would grow the hospitality sector.

“Reducing these rates from double time to time and a half, will increase retail growth nationally and reduce the unemployment rate in Australia,” he says.

“There are a lot of retailers who don’t open at the moment and it will give them an opportunity to open.

“Those people who believe they are going to be affected may well find, I believe they will find, they will be offered extended hours.”

The public holiday penalty cuts will come into effect on 1 July 2017. It’s not yet be decided when the Sunday rates will come into effect.

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