Here’s hoping the Fair Work Commission will see sense in R&C’s submission on penalty rates

The Association has now lodged our submissions to the penalty rates case in the Fair Work Commission. This case will most likely be heard in September this year with a view to a decision in early 2016.

The submissions were extensive and focused on the employment impact of penalty rate reform. Survey work undertaken by the Association found that 40,000 jobs would be created by simplifying the penalty rate system to a weekday rate and one weekend rate at a 125 per cent increment.

This sort of structure would go a long way to making the system simpler. While not as simple as one rolled up rate, one weekend rate could replace the 12 possibilities for the weekend rate under the current system. This simplification, of itself, would enable a much higher level of compliance with the Award.

The other aspect of the penalty rate reform case would be 60,000 additional hours created on each Sunday/Public Holiday during which the reform applied. This in fact means that most staff working on an hourly rate on these days would work at least one extra hour. If this was to be the case, staff would not take home any less pay—just work additional hours. It is our great hope that the arguments that R&C are mounting will get traction with the Commission. There is only one thing that is certain—the unions will not agree with the logic of our argument.

John Hart

CEO, Restaurant & Catering

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