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Fair Work Commission to cut Sunday and public holiday pay for hospitality and retail workers

The Fair Work Commission has today handed down its decision to reduce Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for hospitality and retail workers from July.  

The Full Bench decision was based on consideration of evidence that Sunday penalty rates in the Hospitality, Fast Food, Retail and Pharmacy Awards ‘do not provide a fair and relevant minimum safety net’, and that public holiday penalty rates in those sectors had caused employers to restrict trading hours and lower staff levels.

Sunday penalty rates

Sunday penalty rates for full-time and part-time employees covered by the Hospitality Award will drop from 175% to ‘time and a half’ (150%); however, Sunday penalty rates for causals in the hospitality sector will remain unchanged.

Full-time and part-time level 1 employees covered by the Fast Food Award will have their Sunday penalty rates reduced from ‘time and a half’ to 125%, while casuals working Sunday shifts will see their penalty rate drop from 175% to ‘time and a half’.

Retailers will no longer have to pay full-time and part-time employees ‘double time’ (200%); instead, they permanent staff will only earn ‘time and a half’. Meanwhile, casuals covered by the Retail Award will see their ‘double time’ pay rate drop to 175%.

Full-time and part-time employees covered by the Pharmacy Award will no longer be paid ‘double time’ for shifts between 7am and 9pm. Unless they work outside of those time, their Sunday penalty rate will be ‘time and a half’.  Further, Casuals working Sunday shifts will see their pay rate drop from ‘double time’ to 175% if they work between 7am and 9pm. 

Public holiday penalty rates

Full-time and part-time employees covered by the Hospitality, Restaurant, Retail, Fast Food and Pharmacy Awards will all have their public holiday penalty rates reduced from ‘double time and a half’ (250%) to 225%. Meanwhile, casuals working public holiday shifts in the relevant industries will see their penalty rate drop from 275% to double time and a half.

When changes take effect

The reduced public holiday penalty rates will take effect on 1 July 2017. However, the Full Bench is seeking submission from interested parties as to when the reduced Sunday penalty rates should take effect, noting that transitional arrangements will be necessary to mitigate the hardship Sunday workers will inevitably experience.

Further information

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James Harkness

James Harkness

James Harnkess previous editor at Dynamic Business

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