A solution to the penalty rates problem
A retail worker – level 5 – earns $21.46 an hour Monday to Friday. Say they work three days – that’s $450 or so.
Let’s say they work Saturday. The penalty rate is 125 percent so they get $26.83 an hour. Say it’s a seven-hour shift, $187.
And they also work Sunday. The penalty rate is now 200 percent. That’s $42.92 an hour; $300 for the day.
In total that’s $939 for a 35-hour week – working Saturday and Sunday.
If Sunday penalty rates are cut to 150 percent their pay will drop by about $75. So we worked out how to get that money back.
Eric Abetz says you should maintain those already getting penalty rates – grandfathering them.
Another way to do it is to raise the base pay, so a person now working Sunday is no worse off. They still get $939 for a 35-hour week, including Saturday and the new Sunday 150 percent penalty rate.
I’ve done the sums and it works out to an increase in the base rate of $1.89 an hour. The percentage increase is 8.8 percent.
So the boss gets what they want: penalty rates cut on a Sunday; a chance to open their stores or venues and make some money.
The workers are no worse off. Those who win are Monday to Friday workers.
But we’re talking retail and hospitality here. Most of those workers would or should be working the weekend, especially if there’s more business around the place.
Remember the Fair Work Commission is yet to deliver its final opinion about how the penalty rates will be cut. But there’s little doubt this is the way they will be thinking.
This is fair – to workers and to bosses.
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