Fair Work Penalty Rate Decision 2017

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Fair Work Penalty Rate Decision 2017

The Fair Work Commission has handed down its long-awaited ruling on weekend penalty rates…

The Fair Work Commission made the following changes to the Sunday and Public Holiday penalty rates:

General Retail Industry Award:

  • For full time and part time employees Sunday penalty rates will be reduced from 200% to 150%
  • Casual employees Sunday penalty rates will be reduced from 200% to 175%.
  • Full time and part time employees Public Holiday penalty rates will be reduced from 250% to 225%.
  • In addition, Casual employees Public Holiday penalty rates will be reduced from 275% to 250%.

Hospitality Industry (General) Award:

  • Full time and part time employees Sunday penalty rates will be reduced from 175% to 150%
  • No changes for casuals
  • Full time and part time employees Public Holiday penalty rates will be reduced from 250% to 225%.
  • Casual employees Public Holiday penalty rates will be reduced from 275% to 250%.

Fast Food Industry Award:

  • Level 1 full time and part time employees Sunday penalty rates will be reduced from 150% to 125%
  • Level 1 casual employees Sunday penalty rates will be reduced from 175% to 150%.
  • No change to Sunday penalty rates for Level 2 and 3 full time and part time or casual employees.
  • Full time and part time employees Public Holiday penalty rates will be reduced from 250% to 225%.
  • Casual employees Public Holiday penalty rates will be reduced from 275% to 250%.

Pharmacy Industry Award:

  • Full time and part time employees (7am – 9pm only) Sunday penalty rates will be reduced from 200% to 150%
  • Casual employees (7am – 9pm only) Sunday penalty rates will be reduced from 200% to 175%.
  • Full time and part time employees Public Holiday penalty rates will be reduced from 250% to 225%.
  • Casual employees Public Holiday penalty rates will be reduced from 275% to 250%.

Restaurant Industry Award:

  • Full time and part time employees Public Holiday penalty rates will be reduced from 250% to 225%.

It is currently unknown when changes to the Sunday penalty rates will take effect as the Fair Work Commission have stated that appropriate transitional arrangements are necessary and that the Commission will seek submissions from interested parties regarding transitional arrangements.

The following announced changes to Public Holidays rates will take effect from the 1st July 2017.

Following this decision by the Fair Work Commission, Justice Iain Ross expressed that one of the roles of the Fair Work Commission is to determine if a modern award achieves the objective of the award.  Following this, the Commission has decided that the current penalty rate structure does not achieve the modern award objectives.

In explaining why Sunday penalty rates were not reduced, to match Saturday penalty rates, Justice Ross stated that:    “Generally speaking, for many workers, Sunday work has a higher level of disutility than Saturday work. Though the extent of the disutility is much less than in times past.”

Furthermore, when considering evidence from business owners, the Fair Work Commission agreed that Sunday penalty rates had led employers to restrict trading hours and reduce staffing levels and Justice Ross expressed that:

“The evidence also supports the proposition that a reduction in penalty rates is likely to lead to increased trading hours, an increase in the level and range of services offered on Sundays and public holidays and an increase in overall hours worked.”

The Fair Work Commission also concluded that the announced changes would provide greater consistency to penalty rate structures in the hospitality and retail awards.

This ruling was delivered on Thursday 23rd February by the full bench consisting of Justice Iain Ross, Vice President Joe Catanzariti, Deputy President Ingrid Asbury, Commissioner Peter Hampton and Commissioner Tim Lee was part of the Commissions four-yearly review of modern awards.

If you would like further information regarding this article, or have questions regarding penalty rates that may apply to your business, contact us on:

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