Who loses when Sunday and public holiday pay rates are cut? We all do!
The Fair Work Commission has decided to cut Sunday and public holiday pay rates for almost one million workers. These cuts to pay rates will have a wide ranging impact on the wellbeing and financial security of workers.
IEU members are asked to contact the Prime Minister and their local Member of Parliament and demand legislation which protects all weekend and public holiday rates.
Fair Work Decision: Not Fair on Workers
Hospitality, restaurant, fast food, retail and pharmacy workers will have their Sunday rates of pay reduced as penalty loading percentages will be slashed by 25% to 50%. Public holiday penalty loading percentages will also be cut by up to 50%
The result of this decision will mean that up to one million workers, including some of the country's lowest-paid workers, would lose up to $6,000 a year.
Weekend and Public Holiday Rates: Providing Fair Compensation
The Fair Work Commission has made statement that Sunday and Public holiday penalty rates are 'no longer fair or relevant'. But how accurate is this?
Weekend rates have been paid to those on hourly rates who are working late at night, weekends and public holidays.
Weekend and public holiday rates have the biggest impact on workers in service industries such as hospitality, retail, as well as in aged care, child care, nursing and cleaning.
The majority of workers dependent upon weekend rates are women.
The majority of workers who regularly receive weekend and public holiday rates have household income of $60 000 or less and therefore are financially reliant on this additional pay.
The extra pay for working unsociable hours means that workers can put food on the table, pay the mortgage/rent and provide resources for education of their children.
Weekend Rates: Because We Aren't A 24/7 Society
Despite all the technological changes, most work is still undertaken during regular hours of 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
About 71 percent of the workforce does not work on the weekend or evenings. This statistic has remained steady since the 1990s.
As a community, we still look at weekends, Sundays and public holidays as important days of rest. Almost four times as much time is spent socialising on weekends than during the week.
Church attendance may be declining, but most Australians consider Sundays and public holidays as a time for families and a time to relax before the work week begins.
Weekend and Public Holiday Rates: Boosting the Economy
Weekend and public holiday rates play an important role in increasing the pay of the lowest paid workers who use their hard earned money to purchase basic necessities. As such, every additional dollar earnt puts money back into the economy at a greater rate than someone on a higher income.
The effects of reducing or abolishing Sunday and public holiday rates will be widely felt, especially in towns and local economies in rural and regional Australia.
The McKell Institute (The Impact of Penalty Rate Cuts in Australia in Retail and Hospitality Industries 2015)has identified that the impact of an abolition of weekend rates on rural communities would result in a loss in disposable income between $445.6 million to $748.3 million per annum to local economies in rural Australia, with Queensland and Western Australia being the most affected.
This would have a further serious impact on small communities which are already suffering under drought and fly in/fly out (FIFO) arrangements.
Cutting Week End Rates Will Not Provide More Employment
The Fair Work Commission has stated that cutting Sunday and public holiday rates will allow more businesses to open on weekends and provide for more employment.
Yet, it is a mystery how reducing wages will create more customers or put more money in the community for spending.
When the take home pay is reduced, it is harder to justify spending money on a coffee or a round of drinks.
The Fair Work Commission argues that youth unemployment would be addressed if Sunday and public holiday pay rates were cut.
However, such claims do not stack up in an industry which has access to youth rates and can pay a school leaver almost half the adult minimum wage.
IEU Members Protecting All Weekend and Public Holiday Rates.
It is important that all week end and public holiday rates are protected by legislation.
IEU members are asked to:
- Contact the Prime Minister(https://www.pm.gov.
au/contact-your-pm ) and ask: "Why is it fair that the least paid workers have to give up weekend rates when that means they will either need to work even more hours to make up the pay, or just accept less take-home pay?"
- Contact their local Member of Parliament (http://www.aph.gov.au/
Senators_and_Members/Members) anddemand legislation which will protect weekend rates.
- Sign the ACTU petition https://www.megaphone.org.au/
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