SDA calls for halt on penalty rate cut to ease hardship of workers

March 24, 2017 Media Releases Protect Penalty Rates

The SDA has today called for the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) decision on Sunday and public holiday penalty rates to be set aside due to the hardship it will cause low income workers and their families.

Consistent with the views of the Victorian and South Australian Government’s and recent economic research the SDA has determined that no program of phasing in penalty rate changes can result in anything other than a cut to the take home pay of low paid workers in retail, hospitality and fast food.

Research from the Australia Institute found that the phasing in of changes over time will not neutralise the economic hardship caused by the penalty rate cuts, and proposed transition arrangements could in fact make them worse.

The research found “at current wage growth rates, it would take 17 years until higher base wages for retail workers fully offset the effect of lower penalty rates on nominal incomes.”

This is an unacceptable outcome for the 700,000 retail and hospitality workers who in many cases are already struggling to make ends meet.

Considering this evidence, the SDA calls for the FWC to set aside its decision on Sunday and public holiday penalty rates.

If the FWC refuses to set aside its decision the SDA calls for a minimum two-year delay to its implementation, after which time the Sunday pay rates for existing employees be preserved while any penalty rate cuts then be phased in over a period of not less than five years for new employees.

SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer

Media Contact: Darren Rodrigo 0414783405