Penalty rates cut a win for small business

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Great news for small businesses! 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 be dropping to the same level as Saturday rates.

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell says, “A reduction in Sunday and public holiday penalty rates in select industries will help ensure small business owners in these sectors can operate longer hours, offer their staff more work, and in doing so meet consumer expectations.”

She adds, “Today’s decision by the Fair Work Commission to reduce rates in the retail, hospitality and fast-food industries is a win for common sense that will ultimately boost jobs and stimulate growth across the economy. While it wasn’t quite to the extent proposed by some, it’s certainly a big step in the right direction; it will be important now for a transition period to be put in place to ensure employers and employees are fully across the changes.”

Small businesses have complained loudly about the high wage costs on weekends and holidays that they have no choice but to remain closed. However, for those who remain open, they are simply providing service for their regular clients who expect them to be open all the time.

Carnell stresses, “This decision – backed by previous Productivity Commission findings – means small businesses will be able to trade longer, which means their staff will be given more hours, while communities will benefit from the increased economic activity it will generate; particularly in our rural and regional areas. Let’s not forget, the big players in this space – the supermarkets, the big fast-food chains – have already traded-away penalty rates in their Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBAs), so the only people who have been forced to pay the higher wages on Sundays are mum and dad small business owners.”

She adds, “I just don’t understand why some continue to argue against allowing small businesses the chance to grow, particularly given they’re doing more than their fair share of heavy lifting when it comes to creating jobs in this country.”

Latest figures illustrate the number of small businesses in Australia is increasing including the number of people they are employing. Carnell said, “If we want to see small businesses grow, they’ve got to be able to make a profit, and changing weekend wage settings in the retail, hospitality and fast-food sectors, will give them a fighting chance to do just that.”

What are your thoughts about this change? Let us know how it will impact on your small business by commenting below or sending us a message here

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