Penalty Rates cut again yet no new jobs created!

July 1, 2019 Protect Penalty Rates

The SDA has been fighting to preserve our penalty rates for over 50 years. In that time, retail employer organisations and conservative governments have attacked our hard-won penalty rates.

We continue to fight for our members because there should be a decent penalty for working unsociable hours away from our families and friends. Penalty rates are not a luxury – they put food on the table and petrol in the car. SDA members are no different to other workers yet it has been our members and those who work in the hospitality industry which have been hit hard over the last three years.

Recent History

  • Employers argued in the Fair Work Commission to cut public holiday and Sunday penalty rates in the Fair Work Commission.
  • Unfortunately, the FWC decided to cut those penalty rates over a three year period commencing on 1 July 2017.
  • We wanted this harsh and unfair decision to be reversed so we appealed the decision and took it all the way to the Federal Court.
  • Unfortunately, our appeal through judicial review in the Federal Court was not successful.
  • We were and still are bitterly disappointed by this decision because we know that members can’t afford to have their pay cut.

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 Award-based 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.
  • Not one extra job has been created in the retail, fast food and hospitality industries.

Enterprise Agreement workers also impacted

  • In 2017, the Fair Work Commission changed the goal posts on Enterprise Bargaining.
  • New Enterprise Agreements now ‘mirror’ the Award; i.e., loaded rates are being replaced by a lower base rate with penalties.
  • Members working under new Enterprise Agreements in, for example, Coles and Woolworths have also had their Sunday penalty rate cut.

Increases to base rates of pay

The SDA and the ACTU fought hard to increase the base rate of pay in the Annual Wage Review. Although we argued for a larger increase, we secured a 3% wage increase on the base rate from 1 July 2019.  This 3% increase also flowed through to our Coles and Woolworths members.

Campaign continues

The SDA will continue our campaign to Protect Penalty Rates by keeping this issue front and centre in the community.

Until penalty rates are restored, the fight is not over.