Penalty Rates on the Rise this Christmas

Penalty Rates on the Rise this Christmas

The National Retail Association (NRA) slammed the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) decision to give Australian retailers a penalty rate rise on the eve of the Christmas trade period.

The FWC ruled to increase penalty rates by 25 per cent for 350,000 casual retail employees who work on Saturday and after 6pm on weekdays, coming into effect on 1 November 2018.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb says that the decision is not welcome news for small business on the eve of the busiest trading period of the year for retail.

“Many retailers across the country have been confronting an extraordinarily challenging period throughout 2018, which has been reflected in the latest ABS release for retail sales,” she says.

“Small retailers in particular are already struggling with soaring electricity costs and increasing wholesale prices.

“Now these mum-and-dad small business owners will need to absorb a hike in Saturday penalty rates for casual staff that many simply cannot afford.

“The retail sector is about to enter its busiest part of the year—the Christmas trade period—and the last thing they need is to be hamstrung with further costs.

“There is no point in giving a Saturday casual worker a pay rise if it results in their shift being reduced or cut altogether.

“At the moment, the money simply isn’t there to be asking small business owners to fork out more cash on wages.”

Kate Purcell from FWC says the Commission relies on the written decision issued by the Bull Bench, and that all parties with an interest in the Penalty Rates case were able to provide written and oral submissions and materials.

She says, “After considering all submissions put to it, the Full Bench decided to reduce the Sunday penalty rate in the Retail Award from 200 per cent to 175 per cent for full-time and part-time shift workers, and from 225 per cent to 200 per cent for casual shift workers.

“The Full Bench also decided to increase penalty rates for casual employees working evenings (Monday-Friday) and on Saturday by an additional 25 per cent.”

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