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FWC hands down decision on penalty rates

When modern awards were introduced in 2010, the government built in a 4-year review process to ensure that they remained ‘modern’. That review process has been ongoing since 2014, and has just resulted in the Fair Work Commission’s much-anticipated decision on penalty rates.

The decision follows 37 hearing days, nearly 130 lay witnesses, a dozen expert witnesses and more than 6,000 public submissions.

Key elements of the decision have the effect of:

(a) reducing Sunday penalty rates in the retail industry from 200% to 150% (for permanent staff) and 175% (for casuals);

(b) reducing Sunday penalty rates in the hospitality industry from 175% to 150% (for permanent staff only);

(c) reducing Sunday penalty rates in the fast food industry from 150% to 125% (for permanent staff) and 175% to 150% (for casual staff); and

(d) reducing public holiday penalty rates from 250% to 225% across the hospitality, retail fast food and pharmacy industries.

The decision will have a significant impact on workers in the affected industries and their employers. It is sure to spur debate.

If you have any queries in relation to the decision or other employment law matters, give Fishburn Watson O’Brien’s employment lawyer Jay Clowes a call on (02) 6650 7000.

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