Sunday, Holiday penalty rates slashed to match Saturday levels

Fast food, hospitality, retail and pharmacy workers will have their Sunday and public holiday pay rates reduced as ruled by the Fair Work Commission who announced it Thursday, 23 February 2017. But the rates will not be as low as Saturday pay rates being asked by Employer groups,  clarified by Justice Iain Ross, Commission president.

The Commission had decide to cut Sunday and Public holiday pay rates but not to go as low as the Saturday rates and that they did not cut Saturday rates according to several news sources.

What’s Changing?

For Employees

For level one Fast food workers, Sunday pay for full-time and part-time employees will be cut from 150 down to 125 percent. Level two and three employees’ shall  stay at 150 percent. Casuals will go from 200 percent to 175 percent

For Hospitality workers Sunday pay rates for full-time and part-time workers will be cut from 175 percent of their standard wage to 150 percent while Casual workers’ pay will not be changed.

Public holiday penalty rates for full-time and part-time employees in hospitality will also be slashed from 250 per cent, or “double-time and a half” to 225 per cent. Or as much as 25 percent.

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There will also be varying changes to early and late night work loading for restaurant and fast food workers.

The changes do not extend to restaurants, cafes and clubs as industry representatives did not provide enough evidence to convince the FWC of their case.


For Employers

Business owners have been in support of the cuts, arguing that penalty rates are a significant roadblock to profitability. The prevailing Sunday penalties forced them to limit trading hours or be closed on Sunday because of high rates.

These reduced penalties would increase the level and range of services and increased trading hours for Sunday and Public holidays.

Ultimately this change may mean more jobs for workers because businesses would be able to afford to give them more shifts and add more to the workforce, creating more jobs.

For the Consumers

You may be wondering could this be the end of public holiday surcharges? No, it will not! For Restaurants, Cafés and Clubs even if their Sunday and public holiday penalties were reduced to the new cuts, surcharges may still be needed because it would not meet the costs of staffing. With the new rates they’ll still be paying more than double time and other additional costs that they can’t meet.



When do the changes happen?

The changes to public holiday rates take effect on 1 July. Early and late night work loadings in the restaurant and fast food awards will take effect in late March.


As for Sunday reduced rates, the Commission deemed it appropriate to slowly phase-in, in the span of at least two years. That may be enough time to cushion the changes.


But, there is no clear plan set on how this will be accomplished. The Commission is taking in submissions for a strategy to make it happen.



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