The Productivity Commission has released a workplace relations draft report which states that Sunday penalty rates for non-essential services such as cafes, hospitality, entertainment, restaurants and retailing should be aligned with Saturday rates. The Commission wants to safeguard the existing Sunday penalty rates for essential service workers such as nurses and paramedics.
The draft report also made recommendation that the Australian Government should make amendments to the National Employment Standards so employers are not required to pay employees for leave or additional penalty rates for any newly designated state or territory public holidays. The draft report made reference to the Grand Final Eve holiday, which was recently declared in Victoria for the Friday before the AFL Grand Final, as an example of a new holiday that could potentially see employers not obliged to pay penalty rates or pay employees for leave on that day.
The Australian Government is being encouraged to drop penalty rates from external sources also. After the release of the latest Roy Morgan poll, Gary Morgan said “The Abbott government must look at the abolition of Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for the tourism and retail industries. These measures have an obvious detrimental impact on small businesses which are forced to close on Sundays and public holidays.”
The Productivity Commission is the Australian Government’s independent research and advisory body on economic, social and environmental issues.