Sunday & Public Holiday Rates Slashed

Update 11/5/2017: We're Applying to Federal Court to Stop Penalty Rates Cuts



Today the Fair Work Commission decided to slash Sunday and public holiday penalty rates in the retail, fast food and hospitality awards.


Effects of the Decision

Retail award:

  • ↓ Sunday rate reduced from 200% to 150% (casuals 175%)
  • ↓ Public holiday rates reduced from 250% to 225% (casuals 250%)

Fast Food award:

  • ↓ Sunday rate reduced from 150% to 125% (casuals from 175% to 150%)
  • ↓ Public holiday rate reduced from 250% to 225% (casuals from 275% to 250%)

This Fair Work decision means that every year more than $1 billion dollars will be ripped from the pockets of Australia’s retail and fast food workers.

Money they need to put food on the table, to pay bills, to put the kids through school.

This cut to take home pay could not come at a worse time.

Wages growth is at already a record low – Australian workers need a pay rise, not a pay cut.

This decision will not create one extra job or boost small business.  It will just cut the already low pay of hundreds of thousands of workers.


How Did It Happen

We can thank– Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party for this cut in penalty rates.  We warned members about this before last year’s federal election.

The Federal Liberal Government set up a review of penalty rates in the retail, fast food and hospitality industries by the Productivity Commission.  The review was always designed to cut penalty rates.  That was its purpose.

The report of the Productivity Commission recommending cuts in penalty rates was then used by employers in their case in the Fair Work Commission leading to this cut in penalty rates.

Malcolm Turnbull has not lifted a finger to protect the take-home pay of 4.5 million Australians.

A recent Essential poll found 82% of Australians support penalty rates and meanwhile Malcolm Turnbull does nothing while they’re slashed.

The Turnbull Government has sat on its hands as employers have fought to cut penalty rates.

What the Decision Means For Those on Awards

Sunday penalty rates will be reduced but there will be a transitional period of a length to be decided.  The parties will make further submissions to the Commission on the transitional period.

Public holiday penalty rates will be reduced from July this year.


What the Decision Means For Those on Enterprise Agreements

For members on enterprise agreements there is no change in your current wages and conditions at present.  Your wages and conditions continue on as they are now.

One of the reasons we negotiated enterprise agreements for our members was to protect them against cuts in penalty rates just like this.  Putting penalty rates into a loaded base rate of pay is one way to protect penalty rates.

However employers will use these cuts in penalty rates in negotiations for new agreements.


What to Do

The SDA and the trade union movement are calling on Malcolm Turnbull to stand up for our nation’s retail and fast food workers by intervening immediately to protect take home pay and then reviewing the laws that have led to this decision.

The Prime Minister must intervene before July to protect the take home pay of retail and fast food workers.

Take action now, and call on Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party to protect penalty rates:

  1. Email Malcolm Turnbull & Liberal MPs
  2. Sign up to the campaign

We will keep you informed of developments.


Read the SDA Media Release


Authorised by Michael Donovan, State Secretary