Fair Work Commission slashes Sunday penalty rates: Employers jubilant, workers and unions furious


By Ben Hagemann

After 39 days of hearing, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) yesterday (Thursday) handed down a decision that will see Sunday penalty rates cut from double-time to time-and-a-half pay.

The new move will ease overhead pressures on small business retailers who employ staff on weekends but it has enraged unions, the Greens and Labor who say it will create a ‘whole new class of the working poor’.

The full bench of the FWC has not changed Saturday penalty rates, stating it was satisfied that the existing Saturday penalty rates achieve the modern award’s objective to provide a fair and relevant minimum safety net.

The Full Bench also stated it did not reduce Sunday penalty rates to the same level as Saturday penalty rates, noting that for many people Sundays had a higher level of “disutility” than Saturday work, albeit that the extent of that disutility was significantly lower than for periods further in the past.

It was viewed as implicit in the claims advanced by most of the employer interests that “they accepted the proposition that the disutility associated with Sunday work is higher than the disutility associated with Saturday work”.


Read more here.


This story first appeared in C&I Week. 

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