FWC considers penalty rates alternatives

Weekend penalty rates could be replaced by a ‘loaded’ hourly rate that would be negotiated between the worker and their employer.

In an address to the Australian Financial Review Retail Summit this week, Fair Work Commission President Iain Ross discussed the 6,000 submissions to the FWC’s inquiry into varying the modern retail award.

He told delegates he believed “it should be possible to develop a schedule to the award which provides that employees are paid a higher, loaded hourly rate of pay in lieu of an entitlement to penalty rates”.

Council of Small Business Australia CEO Peter Strong congratulated the FWC for initiating a discussion on changes to the historical approach to weekend penalty rates.

He said the globalisation of business and societal demand for services has largely resulted in community expectations for businesses to be as available on weekends as they are during the week.

“We warmly welcome President Ross’s leadership on this issue and we will be discussing this with our members and look forward to participating in this discussion in the near future,” Mr Strong said.

The FWC’s Full Bench is required to release the penalty rates decision by January 20, 2017.

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