Sunday penalty rates reduced

The Fair Work Commission has reduced Sunday Penalty Rates from double time to time-and-a-half.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA), the Master Grocers Association (MGA), the Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) and national retailers have worked with the Fair Work Commission to amend Sunday rates under the General Retail Industry Award 2010.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the ARA welcomes the decision because it will increase retail growth and lower unemployment.

“With retailers currently paying employees double time on Sundays, many retailers are forced to close their doors on this day, impeding growth in the retail sector,” he said.

The ARA believes the penalty-rate reduction will increase employment of young people who are currently seeking weekend work, as more stores will be able to open on Sundays and have more staff working at these times.

Mr Zimmerman says that, as a result, employers will get a 4 to 5 per cent reduction on wages, which they will be able to reinvest in employing more staff and increasing employment in the retail industry.

MGA CEO Jos de Bruin also welcomed the decision, saying the result will give many businesses that have struggled to cope with high Sunday penalties an opportunity to grow their businesses, establish a more balanced work life and remain viable.

“They now have a chance to employ more staff and therefore increase productivity,” he said. “Isn’t this exactly what we want – jobs and growth?

“Financially, achieving this outcome has not been easy but will be a worthwhile result for our members, particularly if we are able to withstand any subsequent challenge to this impressive and desperately needed decision,” Mr de Bruin added.

The Fair Work Commission will now proceed to consider how this decision will be implemented.