Australia : Future of Sunday penalty rates still hangs in the balance
Posted September 09, 2016 15:47:13
A decision on the future of Sunday penalty rates has been delayed until later in the year.
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) was expected to rule this month on whether to reduce Sunday rates in line with rates on Saturday for certain industries.
The workplace watchdog has instead scheduled an additional hearing at the end of September.
In a statement, FWC said the Australian Industry Group needed to provide further evidence to support their case for a reduction.
The AI Group's Stephen Smith said the organisation had been lobbying to change penalty rates, with a focus on the fast food industry.
It follows a survey of employees at McDonalds and Hungry Jacks about their preferences for weekend work.
Mr Smith said he was happy the Commission was giving full consideration to the issue and was optimistic the Fair Work Commission would agree to reduce Sunday penalty rates.
"When you look at the fast food industry, the employees in that industry are typically young people who go to school or have study commitments during the week, so most of them want to work on the weekends.
"It's an extremely big case."
The Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), in response to the AI Group survey, argued the poll of fast food employees failed to properly take into account the classification level of workers.
Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Brendan O'Connor said the delay was an opportunity for the Federal Government to change its mind on the issue.
"The fact that the Commission has delayed this matter to get more evidence is entirely up to them," he said.
"But it does provide an opportunity now for Malcolm Turnbull and the Minister for Employment to join Labor in opposing these cuts to low and middle income earners."
Unions and the Federal Opposition say any move to reduce Sunday penalty rates would leave low and middle income earners worse off, but business groups and the Federal Government argue it would reduce the pressure on small businesses, as well as the retail and fast food sectors.