Penalty Rate Cuts Offer Big Break To CE And Appliance Retailers

The muscle-bound man who stood alongside Bill Shorten as an everyday retail worker "outraged" by penalty rate cuts, is in fact employed by supermarket giant Coles and unaffected by the shock ruling.

Not only are the retail and hospitality industries dominated by part-time and casual employment, but in both cases women are much more likely than men to be working part time.

For example, full-time and part-time retail workers will see their Sunday penalty rate fall from 200% of the standard rate to 150% of the standard rate.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) made a decision to reduce penalty rates for some Sunday shifts in retail, hospitality and fast food.

In the fast food industry, some full-time and part-time employees - classed as level one workers - will see a reduction from 150 per cent to 125 per cent, while casuals will be cut from 175 per cent to 150 per cent. Casual retail employees, who now receive either 275% or 250% on public holidays, are set to receive a standard 250% under the proposed changes.

Readers of AJP have responded angrily to today's decision by the Fair Work Commission to cut penalty rates.

"The Commission's consideration of over 130 lay witnesses and more than 6,000 public submissions demonstrates that all parties have had their positions properly considered", Mr Ward said.

The head of the Australian Industry Group, Innes Willox, which represents the fast food industry, said the decision would allow young people to get jobs.

She said the changes would mean workers could lose about $5 an hour.

While the argument against cutting penalty rates focuses on income, the argument for cutting them has been focused on the cost to business and the "high" cost of keeping businesses open on Sundays.

Penalty rates and working on Sundays is something many of us have come to take for granted during our working lives.

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Except for the fast food area, the Sunday penalty rates have not been brought to the same level as Saturday penalty rates.

Stewart said the commission has the power to grandfather orders to exempt workers hired before the decision from cuts, through a provision known as take home pay orders.

The Fair Work Commission will deliver its ruling in Melbourne at 11am, which will affect levels of penalty rates now paid in several industries nationally.

On Twitter, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said people relied on penalty rates.

This is a bad day for working Australians.

"If you're anxious about an extra $80 per person because of penalty rates, you've got a bad business", she said.

Under Australia's current industrial relations framework things like penalty rates are decided by the FWC, though federal parliament does have the ability to override the commission's decisions through legislation.

Penalty rates "frustrate the job aspirations of the unemployed and those who are only available for work on Sunday".

The argument from employer groups has always been that high Sunday penalty rates - up to double time for some employee groups - no longer reflect community standards and have become a disincentive for shops to open their doors.

The decision was met with fury by the union movement and the Labor party.

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