Unfair penalty rate cuts hit retail and fast food workers for the third time
Media release | 28 June 2019
700,000 Australian workers will again receive a massive, unfair cut to their take home pay as the third round of penalty rate cuts commence on July 1, even though previous cuts have not created jobs nor simulated the economy as promised by the Morrison Government and business community.
SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer said the massive, unfair cuts to take home pay would make life much harder for retail and fast food workers already struggling to meet ends meet at a time of historic low wage growth.
“On July 1, retail and fast food workers will again be hit with a massive, unfair cut to their take home pay as Sunday penalty rates are cut for the third time.”
“Retail and fast food workers have already had two cuts to their Sunday penalty rates and public holiday rates were slashed in 2017.”
“Given these are some of the lowest paid workers in the country, these penalty rate cuts for retail, fast food and hospitality workers are extraordinarily unfair.”
“There is no doubt this will hurt family budgets right across the country as workers struggle to meet the rising costs of rent, petrol, groceries and utility bills.”
Mr Dwyer said that any pretence that penalty rate cuts would simulate job growth or economic activity had now clearly been shattered.
“None of the jobs or economic growth promised by the Morrison Government and business community as a result of these penalty rate cuts have materialised. Even the Small Business Council admits the cuts have not created any extra jobs”
“In fact, the only real results of these penalty rate cuts have been a significant loss of income for some of Australia’s lowest paid workers and a weakening economy.”
Mr Dwyer said that in an environment of weak economic growth and struggling retail turnover cutting penalty rates was the worst thing the Morrison Government could allow to happen.
“With wage growth at historic lows it’s clear that workers and their families simply don’t have the money to spend on anything other than the bare essentials.”
“If the Morrison Government and business community actually want to lift retail spending and enhance economic growth, they should support policies which improve wages, and that includes reversing these unfair penalty rate cuts.”
July 1, 2019 Penalty Rate Cut Facts
- On July 1, for the third time 700,000 Australians including hundreds of thousands of workers in retail and fast food will receive cuts of 15% and 10% respectively to their Sunday penalty rates.
- Retail and pharmacy workers will receive a 15% cut to their Sunday penalty rates while fast food workers will receive a 10% cut.
- For a level 1 retail employee, this would mean a pay cut of up to $55 a month or $670 per year.
- Retail, fast food and hospitality workers received penalty rate cuts on July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018. The next penalty rate cut will occur on July 1, 2020.
- Public holiday penalty rates were cut by 25% for all retail, fast food and pharmacy workers in 2017.
- These total penalty rate cuts will amount to between $2,000 and $6,000 per worker when fully implemented.
- Over the recent Easter holiday period cuts to penalty rates cost workers $80 million in lost wages.