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Sunday penalty rates cut for retail workers

 

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The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has today announced its decision to reduce Sunday penalty rates for retail, hospitality and fast food workers.

Sunday rates for full-time and part-time retail workers will be reduced from double time (200 per cent of the standard rate) to time and a half (150 per cent). Casual workers will also see their pay cut.

The announcement comes after two years of lobbying from retail industry groups including the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), Master Grocers Association (MGA) and the Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) along with national retailers.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA, said the decision was welcomed by the association and its members. He said the reduction will increase retail growth nationally and reduce the unemployment rate in Australia.

“With retailers currently paying employees double time on Sundays, many retailers are forced to close their doors on this day, impeding on growth in the retail sector,” he said.

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“Sunday wages have previously been detrimental to Australian retailers, as many employers could only afford to roster one staff member on this day.”

The ARA believes the reduction will increase the employment of young people who are looking for weekend work, as more stores will be able to open on Sundays and have more staff working.

Unions not happy

The decision has angered workers’ unions, with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) president Ged Kearney stating that it is a “bad day for working Australians”.

“We are on the way to seeing a whole class of working poor in this country,” she said. “We are talking about people who do not earn a fortune. The retail industry made a very healthy operating profit last year. They can afford to pay people decently.”

 

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