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Need for affordable and pragmatic penalty rates

Release Date: 23/02/2017

The Illawarra Business Chamber supports today’s decision of the Fair Work Commission to reduce Sunday and Public Holiday penalty rates in a number of hospitality and retail awards as it presents a more affordable and pragmatic wage system.
The Fair Work Commission has recommended Sunday penalty rates for these awards be reduced from 200% to 150% for full-time and part-time employees, and 200% to 175% for casual employees.  For public holidays it is recommended that penalty be generally reduced from 250% to 225%.
Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director, Chris Lamont, said the proposed changes will provide a real incentive for businesses to both increase hours of operation and look at the employment of additional staff.
“The Commission has ruled based on the significant feedback that penalty rates no longer reflect community standards and have forced many businesses to close the doors on weekends and public holidays.  Job creation is reliant on businesses remaining open and too many businesses have not been able to afford current penalty rates,” said Chris Lamont.
“Affordable penalty rates will help create more job opportunities across the region.  The Chamber has advocated for the need to address unemployment and particularly youth unemployment. If these recommendations are adopted business will have a greater incentive to hire,” said Chris Lamont.
“The decision of the Fair Work Commission is in line with the Productivity Commission’s recommendation in 2015 to reduce Sunday rates in line with Saturdays and is reflective of the fact that we now operate in a  24/7, seven-day-a-week economy, where many workers see no difference in working Sundays compared to Saturdays,” said Chris Lamont.
“The Chamber has also urged employers to ensure they are aware and compliant with all requirements of the Fair Work Act and continues to offer support to help businesses meet their legal obligations,” said Chris Lamont.
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Media Contact: Katherine Baker 0417 135 858

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