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Small businesses encouraged to check penalty rates in order to plan for Australia Day

Small businesses are encouraged to plan for the upcoming Australia Day public holiday by checking Enterprise Agreements and penalty rates.

This year, Australia Day falls on a Saturday, which means the recognised public holiday is Monday, January 28.

Employsure’s senior employment relations adviser, Jonathan Wilson said Saturday was not considered a public holiday and therefore employers were not required to pay public holiday rates for staff working on Saturday.

He also said that a series of new penalty rates would need to be applied for workers in the hospitality, restaurant, fast rood, retail and pharmacy industries.

“The biggest issues facing small business when it comes to public holidays is balancing competing priorities such as, cashflow, customer expectations, and managing staff,” Mr Wilson said.

“For small business owners, public holidays can mean changes in customer and staff behaviour. These issues can have an increased impact on a business on what is an already busy time of year and it is important that business owners and employers prepare and forecast for their business needs.

“Consider the impact public holiday entitlements and penalty rates can have on a small business forecast revenue.  For example, before deciding to trade on a public holiday you should take time to check the minimum rates that apply on public holidays.  Doing this will allow you to forecast and budget staffing levels, expenditure, and revenue expectations.”

Mr Wilson advises employers to check Enterprise Agreements or employee Awards, which will outline public holiday entitlements, penalty rates, trading hours and required obligations.

“Ensure you check the provisions of the Awards or Agreements which apply to your business and employees, along with their contracts of employment for any terms relevant to a public holiday such as minimum engagement periods.”

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Rebecca Thacker

Rebecca Thacker

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