Slashing rates towards a modern day hospitality industry

RatesThe Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) decision to reform Sunday and Public Holiday penalty rates is a first step towards a modern hospitality industry, the Australian Hotels Association said.

AHA and Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) led the submissions to the FWC on behalf of the hotel sector – TAA is chaired by the Hon Martin Ferguson AM, a former ACTU President and Federal Tourism Minister.

Mr Ferguson said the FWC decision should be respected.

ÒFrom the industry point of view we haven’t got everything we want,” he said.Ê”That is the nature of the Fair Work Commission.

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ÒWe respect their decision and we will try and make it work. For us the objective was to modernise the award, not to abolish penalty rates, but to make it relevant to the 21st century as a means of employing more Australians.

ÒThe hospitality and accommodation sector is seen as an industry with tremendous potential to deliver results and jobs for the Australian economy.ÊWe are currently experiencing the largest-ever expansion of accommodation hotels across the country, so it is imperative that workplace reforms support this growth phase.Ó

Under the new rules, fulltime and part-time hospitality workers will have Sunday rates slashed from 175 per cent to 150 per cent and Sunday rates for casuals will remain at 175 per cent. If they’re on the national minimum wage, $17.70 per hour, an eight-hour Sunday shift will earn them about $248.

Under the changes that drops to $212. It’s a difference of about $35 for the shift, but it’s still significantly more than the $141 the boss would have to fork out for their shift on a weekday. On public holidays, rates for fulltime and part-time workers have also been cut from 250 per cent to 225 per cent, and casuals will remain at 250 per cent for public holidays.

AHA CEO Stephen Ferguson said the AHA supports workers being remunerated extra for working on weekends and public holidays.

ÒSociety and work patterns have changed significantly in 50 years,Ó Mr Stephen Ferguson said. ÒToday people expect to be able to shop, buy a meal or a drink at all hours of the day, while large numbers of workers actually prefer to work outside a Ô9 to 5′ weekday regime because it suits their lifestyle, studies or family circumstances.

ÒOver recent years too many businesses have closed or reduced employment on Sundays or Public Holidays because of the cost of penalty rates. That is bad for workers, bad for business and bad for the general public.Ó

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