Peak business advocate welcomes penalty rates decision

01 March, 2017

The Fair Work Commission’s decision to adjust penalty rates will allow small businesses to create jobs and offer more hours for West Australian workers, says WA’s leading business advocate.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCI) welcomed last week’s historic announcement to reduce penalty rates on Sundays and Public Holidays in the retail and hospitality industries, describing it as a “sensible” decision.

The greatest impact will be on penalty rates for retail workers, which will drop from 200 per cent to 150 per cent for part-time and full-time workers on Sundays and from 250 per cent to 225 per cent on public holidays.

Under the Hospitality Award the Sunday rate will drop from 175 per cent to 150 per cent, while Fast Food Award workers will see the rate cut from 150 per cent to 125 per cent for full-time and part-time employees, while casuals will drop from 175 per cent to 150 per cent.

The cuts to public holiday rates will take effect from July 1 with further submissions sought by the commission before the Sunday rates take effect.  

CCI Chief Executive Officer Deidre Willmott says the changes will be particularly significant for WA’s tourism industry, especially in regional areas.

“In Western Australia, where the jobless rate is the highest in the country and youth unemployment is 14.9 per cent – miles ahead of the national average of 13.5 per cent – the decision will mean business owners in the retail and hospitality industries will now be able to open more hours and likely create more jobs, particularly part-time jobs,” she says.

“CCI has long called for a reduction in Sunday and Public Holiday penalty rates to allow small and medium sized businesses to open more hours and create more jobs for workers – our Members tell us that the exorbitant rates paid on these days stop them from opening their doors, because they simply cannot afford to pay grossly inflated wages.

“This is bad for workers who want more hours, bad for businesses who want to trade, bad for customers who want to spend their money and bad for the economy overall.”

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