Sunday penalty rate changes take effect this weekend
29th June 2018
New changes to penalty rates for some retail, hospitality, and pharmacy workers come into effect this Sunday.
According to the SDA, the Union for Retail, Fast Food and Warehousing workers, the changes will affect around 700,000 workers.
The extent of the changes depend on the industry, with penalties to be reduced by 10 or 15 per cent.
The United Voice union estimates that it will mean people on an award wage who complete a shift this Sunday will earn about $16 less than they did last week.
A tale of two workers: Ed and Gabby
Ed Smith works at a small, family run, fast food business in Sydney.
His boss has stopped putting him on Sundays, because of the cost.
“He’s now got someone else working Sundays, because he can pay them a little bit less,” he said.
Now that he has stopped working Sundays, he has to work extra shifts to make up the lost money, and that means he only has one spare day a week.
“My only study day now is Sunday, so I kind of wake up early, maybe 5:30 am or 6am, and start my day and get through six to nine hours of lecture content for the day.
“And then I have a little bit of time left over to work on assignments,” he told PM.
“That’s pretty much my life: work, uni, and that day to get everything done.”
Mr Smith fears the changes will affect some of the lowest-paid workers, who study or care for someone during the week.
The penalty rate change does not affect workers like Gabby, who are on an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.
Gabby is a retail worker who has been in the industry for five years.
She does not want to provide her surname, but is really happy with her workplace, which is not passing on the penalty cuts.
“We’ve been told our company won’t be doing the full cut of penalty rates,” she said.
“We’ve been told they basically value our work on weekends, and they think we should be paid accordingly.”
Gabby said that has made her feel valued at work, and that her company understands its employees.
“I just think it’s important that people see the value in industries such as hospitality and retail,” she said.
“Without these industries, people wouldn’t be able to enjoy their weekend as much as they do, and I don’t think those industries should be taken for granted, and I think they should be paid accordingly.”
This year will be different
Sunday penalty rate cuts from
|Full and part time||Casual|
|Retail||195pc down to 180pc||195pc 185pc|
|Hospitality||170pc down to 160pc||No change|
|Fast-food||145pc down to 135pc||170pc to 160pc|
|Pharmacy||195pc down to 180pc||220pc to 205pc|
The changes have come about following a Fair Work determination made last year.
Fair Work said that penalties for some industries should be reduced each July, with changes starting last year and continuing until 2020.
Russell Zimmerman, the Executive Director of the Australian Retailers Association, says last year’s changes were too small to spur on any real growth in jobs for the retail sector.
However, he believes the changes coming into effect this weekend will lead to more jobs, or at least, more work.
“Unfortunately, the first transition was only a 5 per cent reduction; this transition is a far greater amount; around 10 per cent.”
“Quite honestly, what we’re expecting to see is a large number of retailers start thinking about employing more staff,” he said.
“If we want to grow the economy, if we want to employ people, the things we need to do is to stimulate that by giving back to small business and allow them to employ more people.”