Businesses and workers urged to check pay rates before Easter

The Fair Work Ombudsman is urging businesses and workers to check the pay rates and entitlements that apply to their workplace over Easter.

Good Friday (March 25) and Easter Monday (March 28) are national public holidays, but in some states and territories, Easter Saturday and/or Easter Sunday are public holidays.

“It’s important to be aware of the public holidays and any penalty rates that apply,” Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said.

“Our website can assist employers and workers alike understand and comply with their rights and obligations so there aren’t any issues arising post-Easter.”

According to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), retailers opening their stores on public holidays across the Easter weekend will bear the brunt of much higher costs, while some may not open at all.

“Consumers are expecting retailers to be open and trading this Easter long weekend where laws allow, and retail businesses will be forced to wear the higher costs as a result,” ARA Executive Director Russel Zimmerman said.

“For most Australians, weekends and public holidays are seen as normal shopping days, making above-the-norm penalty rates unnecessary.”

Penalty rates were introduced in the early 1900s as compensation for employees’ work performed outside ‘normal’ hours. Mr Zimmerman says that in 2016 standard working hours no longer fit the traditional pattern of nine-to-five Monday to Friday, and that reducing penalty rates would assist not only businesses, but customers and employees alike.

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