This Easter workers are relieved that their penalty rates will not be removed or drastically reduced after seeing off yet another attack on their wages and conditions.
Early this month the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Workplace Relations released its report into Senator Nick Xenophon’s Fair Work Amendment (Small Business – Penalty Rates Exemption) Bill 2012. This bill seeks to remove or drastically reduce entitlements to penalty rates in businesses with fewer than 20 full-time equivalent employees.
The Committee’s two main conclusions:
• just because you work for a small business doesn’t mean you should have fewer rights;
• the overwhelming majority of Australians support the right of workers to be compensated financially when they are required to work unsociable hours.
“It is a relief to the thousands of Bendigo and Central Victorian workers, particularly in the hospitality and retail sectors, that the report strongly supports them continuing to receive penalty rates, regardless of the size of their employers’ businesses. These workers will be working hard this Easter foregoing time with family and friends and should be compensated.”
“The Federal Labor Government agrees with the Committee. We firmly believe that Australian workers deserve penalty rates for working extended or unsocial hours like Good Friday and the other Easter holidays.”
“The Easter break is an important religious and family holiday and the idea that family and home time should have to be traded for nothing is not the Labor way - whether it is for going to church, taking the kids away for a camping holiday or kicking back and enjoying the Bendigo Easter parade and festivities.”
“If you miss out on these opportunities and are required to work over the Easter holidays, then you should be paid penalty rates.”
“I believe that this latest attack on penalty rates is a sign of things to come from the conservative side of politics.”