The Fair Work Commission has decided to cut Sunday and public holiday penalty rates in the retail, fast food, hospitality and pharmacy sectors, however Sunday wages will not drop to the same level as Saturday rates.
After months of deliberation and several delays, the Commission handed down its ruling on whether Sunday pay rates should be brought in line with Saturdays this morning.
What does the cut to penalty rates mean for YOU?
Retail: In the retail award, Sunday rates for full and part time workers will decrease from 200% of the regular hourly rate to 150%. For casual workers the rate will decrease from 200% to 175%.
Hospitality: In the hospitality award, the loading for full and part time workers will be reduced from 175% to 150%, while there will be no change for casuals.
Fast food: Full and part time “Level 1” employees in the fast food sector will have their Sunday rates cut from a 150% loading to 125%. Casual “Level 1” employees will have their Sunday loading cut from 175% to 150%.
Pharmacy: There will be changes to pay rates for pharmacy staff working between 7:00am and 9:00pm, while those working before 7:00am and between 9:00pm and midnight will continue to get the existing loading.
In a live broadcast, Fair Work Commission President Iain Ross thanked stakeholders for their input in the decision making process, highlighting that the final written submission on the decision was submitted on February 4.
Saturday penalty rates were also reviewed by the Commission but a decision was made not to alter these rates. In outlining the decision Ross said the Commission understands that while working Sundays might not have the “disutility” that it once did for workers, Sunday work still did have an impact and this formed part of the Commission’s decision not to pull Sunday rates completely in line with Saturdays in the retail and hospitality sectors.
“Except in fast food awards, we have not reduced the Sunday rates to the same rate as Saturday,” Ross said.
“Sunday work has a higher level of disutility, but much less than in times past.”
Ross said that submissions on this issue suggested the stakeholders “accepted the proposition” that Sunday work had some impact.
“The conclusions we have reached are largely based on the particular circumstances related to these awards,” Ross said of the decision.
“Given these characteristics, the decisions we have made provide no warrant for the variation of penalties in other modern awards.”
The Commission said it is yet to come to a view on the most appropriate transition arrangement for the changes, but says its provisional view is that the new Sunday rates should start to be rolled out from July 1, 2017.
Public holiday penalty rates to change
The Commission has also decided to alter public holiday penalty rates in the hospitality and retail awards, which will come into effect on July 1, 2017.
These changes include cutting public holiday rates for full and part time hospitality and retail workers from a 250% loading to 225%.
Casual hospitality workers will get a 250% loading on public holidays instead of the current 275%, while retail workers than currently receive a 275% public holiday loading will also be brought down to 250%.