In brief - Win for employers in hospitality, fast food, retail and pharmacy industries

Businesses operating in the hospitality, fast food, retail and pharmacy sectors have been patiently waiting for the Fair Work Commission's long anticipated decision on weekend and public holiday penalty rates. 
 
With a win to employers operating in the hospitality, fast food, retail and pharmacy sectors, the Commission has determined that a penalty rate reduction is necessary in certain industries as a means to meet modern award objectives. 

What does this mean for business?

Businesses which are covered by the following awards are affected by the Fair Work Commission's decision:
  • General Retail Industry Award 2010
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010
  • Fast Food Industry Award 2010
  • Pharmacy Industry Award 2010

Summary of Determination

Award     Classification Sunday Public Holiday
General Retail Industry Award 2010 Full-time and part-time employees 200% penalty rate reduced to 150% 250% penalty rate reduced to 225%
General Retail Industry Award 2010 Casual employees 200% penalty rate reduced to 175% No variation
Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 Full-time and part-time employees 175% penalty rate reduced to 150% 250% penalty rate reduced to 225%
Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 Casual employees No variation 275% penalty rate reduced to 250%
Fast Food Industry Award 2010
(level 1 employees)
Full-time and part-time employees 150% penalty rate reduced to 125% 250% penalty rate reduced to 225%
Fast Food Industry Award 2010
(level 1 employees)
Casual employees 175% penalty rate reduced to 150% 275% penalty rate reduced to 250%
Pharmacy Industry Award 2010 Full-time and part-time employees 200% penalty rate reduced to 150% for hours worked between 7:00am and 9:00pm 250% penalty rate reduced to 225%
Pharmacy Industry Award 2010 Casual employees 200% penalty rate reduced to 175% for hours worked between 7:00am and 9:00pm 275% penalty rate reduced to 250%

Date of implementation of penalty rates cut currently undecided

At this point the date of effect in which businesses can implement the new penalty rates cut is undecided. The Productivity Commission's suggestion of a 12 month delay prior to making any changes has not been accepted by the Fair Work Commission. The Commission will now hear further submissions on the transitional period for implementing the cuts.

While the reduction in penalty rates will be of benefit for employers in these industries, the effect of penalty rates can be better managed if employers negotiate specific industrial agreements with their staff to address the high cost of weekend work.

Read the Fair Work Commission's decision on penalty rates.

This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2019.

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