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The great Sunday penalty rate debate

Supplier: Mitrefinch Australia By: Katrina Hall
26 October, 2015

Recent news stories have seen the debate about Sunday penalty rates kicking back into gear, with a series of high profile figures and bodies adding to the rhetoric on the subject over the last few weeks.

Australia's Fair Work Ombudsman sets out employee entitlements to higher pay rates for working weekends, public holidays, overtime, as well as particularly late/ early shifts. These penalty/ award rates tend to impact the hospitality and retail industry much more than other industries, simply because they tend to be the kinds of businesses that need to be able to keep operating at those times to remain profitable.

Rates can be as high as $40 per hour for hospitality workers. Nice work, if you can get it!

Recent news stories have seen the debate about Sunday penalty rates kicking back into gear, with a series of high profile figures and bodies adding to the rhetoric on the subject over the last few weeks.

In case you missed it, here is a brief recap of some of the highlights:

  • The ACCI backed bringing Sunday rates - which can be as high as double time - into line with Saturday rates, which are a maximum time-and-a-half. But it does not want to see penalties abolished completely.
  • Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said changes to existing Sunday penalty rates may be considered by the government but it would not engage in "policy on the run". He previously alluded to the idea that they were outdated, and needed to be revised.
  • The Productivity Commission has defended its proposal to cut Sunday penalty rates to Saturday levels, saying a change would probably increase employment for cafe, entertainment and retail workers.
  • Liberal MPs suggested higher rates of pay across the seven day working week as a possible trade-off.

So, what are your thoughts on the great rate debate?

Australian businesses can ensure they are fully compliant with penalty rates and complex modern awards with Mitrefinch employee time and attendance software.

The system takes the stress out of payroll processing, award and entitlement calculations, allowing you to easily calculate base and overtime pay, weekend and public holiday penalties, as well as leave loading and shift penalties, ensuring consistent application of your business rules and compliance with workplace legislation.