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Sunday Penalty Rates Landmark Decision Is One Step Coser!

Sunday Penalty Rates Landmark Decision Is One Step Coser!

HAIR dressers, beauticians and waiters could face penalty rate cuts in the wake of a landmark decision to slash Sunday bonuses from workers in hospitality, retail and fast food.

The Federal Opposition has written to the Fair Work Commission to warn against extending penalty rate cuts to other industries, amid reviews of several pay awards.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said last month’s Fair Work decision would hit the hip pocket of almost 700,000 Australians and “must be set aside entirely”.

“Millions of workers who rely on weekend penalty rates risk having their pay cut as employers continue to apply for penalty rates to be reduced across a range of other sectors,” Mr Shorten said.

He said Labor had made submissions to protect 84,000 workers covered by the hairdressing and beauty industry award, 96,370 people working in clubs, and 143,975 people who are paid according to the restaurant and catering award.

“The fact that the Commission is continuing to review other awards is further proof that the first round of penalty rates is just the thin edge of the wedge of a broader assault on the take-home pay of Australian workers,” Mr Shorten said.

Fair Work decided last month to cut Sunday rates for hospitality workers from 175 per cent of their normal rate to 150 per cent, from 200 per cent to 150 per cent for those in retail, and from 150 per cent to 125 per cent for fast food workers.

The commission is now considering what transitional arrangements should be put in place to enforce the penalty rate cuts.

The Federal Government’s submission said take-home pay orders could not be used to top-up pay cheques to affected workers.

Waiters and hospitality staff are among the workers at risk of having their Sunday penalty rates slashed.

The government said it was up to Fair Work to decide on transitional arrangements which would ensure “positive employment benefits flow to businesses” while considering the “potential economic impact and effects on employees”.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged Fair Work to enforce the reduced rates without delay.

In its submission, the Chamber said lower penalty rates meant shops would open longer on weekends, providing more hours of work for youths and underemployed people.

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell argued changes to penalty rates should be accompanied by minimum wage increases over two or three years.

“We recommend a series of adjustments, as appropriate, to allow individuals’ base pay rate to gradually increase to the point where there is no substantial decrease in take home pay when the penalty rate reduction takes effect,” Ms Carnell said in her submission.

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