Sunday and Public Holiday Penalty Rate Cuts in Australia

In Australia the cuts to Sunday Penalty rates have become applicable for more than thousands of workers and this would be phased in more than 2-3 years. On 5th June, 2017, The Fair Work Commission (FWC) stated that the Sunday workers of the fast food sector, the pharmacy industry, the hospitality industry and the retail sector would experience the penalty rate cuts from 1st July, 2017. Depending on the type of the industry the implementation time would vary, but should be done by 2019 or maximum by 2020. The employers would be initially disappointed during the period of ‘phase-in’, especially the ones who did not want this until next year. And the unions who were strongly against the reduction are highly upset.

On 1st July, the retail workers would have their Sunday penalty reduced to 195 percent from 200 percent, before they could incur a 15% point reduction on an annual basis for 3 years. By 2020, it is estimated that the rate would dip to 150 percent.

Pharmacy workers would face something similar whether they are part-time or full-time workers. There rate would dip in 4 instalments by 2020 and the percent is going to be 150.

Hospitality workers will undergo a 5% point fall in their Sunday penalty rate, which is currently 170%, starting July 2017. Over the next 2 years, this rate would dip by 10% points. By July 2019, they would have a penalty rate of 150%.

Fast food workers, the ones who are full-time and permanent workers would see their penalty rates lessen by 5% points and would become 145% from July 2017. By 2019, each year, the dip would be by 10% points and the final rate will be 125%.

From July 1, 2017 there have been cuts in the penalty rates of public holidays too.

Martin Ferguson, who is the former President of ACTU, and is the chairman of Tourism-Accommodation-Australia stated his preference, wherein, the penalty rate dip should be completely implemented over the next 2 years.

This reformation of the rates of penalty have definitely been a very hard decision for FWC but this was extremely essential too considering the long term goals and the logic behind it. There has been a gigantic expansion in the hotel industry in recent times and also the fact that it is one of the sectors that run 24/7, it was significant that public holiday and Sunday rates as are per the new and recent working culture.

Workers have always been supported in terms of remuneration, when they have worked on weekends and public holidays, however, it also makes sense for this compensation amount to be fair and logical. Therefore all the workers from all the sectors should be in collaboration with each other by ensuring a smooth transition and accepting new the rates of Sunday and public holiday penalty. Restaurants may be able to pay more for their commercial catering equipment, such as commercial combi ovens and other commercial kitchen supplies.

As per Russell Zimmerman, the executive director of Australian-Retailer’s-Association, the cuts would be completely in place in exactly a year’s time from this year July.

It has bee found that this dip in penalty rates would let the retailers to increase employment in total and would also be able to elevate the work hours of staff.

However the Union is determined to appeal to the Federal Court because as per them, this is an unfair decision and it should be reconsidered.