Penalty rate cut for Australian workers

By cutting Sunday penalty rates in the retail, hospitality, fast food and pharmacy sectors, the Fair Work Commission has reduced, although not ended, the financial deterrents to businesses opening on Sundays.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has said that the decision will mean that almost half a million people, including some of the country's lowest-paid workers, would lose up to AUD 6,000 (USD 4,610) a year.

"We call on the Malcolm Turnbull and all political parties to immediately act to protect working people from any cuts to their take home pay", Szakacs said.

The pharmacists' union, Professional Pharmacists Australia, has slammed the Fair Work Commission's decision on Thursday that it would slash penalty rates. The ruling from the independent tribunal says workers in the retail, hospitality and fast-food industries, which employ over 700,000 Australians, will be affected.

"We know with illegal payments and black economy that there is already a significant part of the economy that are not even getting penalty rates". Unlike the commission, they haven't sat through the evidence presented, yet no doubt will be making all sorts of threats to introduce legislation making this decision irrelevant.

"We made a submission strongly against this cut to penalty rates", the premier said.

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

The Fair Work Commission has spent nearly two years weighing evidence from more than 140 witnesses and 6000 written submissions.

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Meanwhile, following the widespread backlash from workers who will suffer a pay cut, some businesses such as Lush have reassured their Sunday employees that they would continue to offer the current award.

Hospitality: Sunday rates reduced from 175 to 150 per cent of standard wage for full and part-time workers, casual employees will remain the same.

With 700,000 working-age Australians without jobs and substantial under-employment, we should be asking why unemployment is higher and real wages growth lower today than following the deregulation efforts of Keating and Howard.

Each taking effect from July 2017.

While the FWC acknowledged the changes would adversely affect some workers, the commission said the cuts would boost services and trade on public holidays and Sundays.

Hospitality and retail employees will also see their public holiday rates cut from 250 per cent to 225 per cent.

"When you read the 550-page decision and consider that the commission sat through 39 days of testimony from more than 143 lay witnesses and experts, it's pretty clear the outcomes and their intentions were well considered", NSW Business Chamber CEO Stephen Cartwright said. "This decision will assist business in creating viable Sunday opportunities which obviously flows through to additional hours for workers whilst assisting owners and Managers achieve better work life balance". Ultimately it comes around to bite them because the very people who spend money in their businesses now have less money in their pockets.

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