Two-stage transition for Sunday penalty rates proposed

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has proposed a phased approach to Sunday penalty rates, which it claims will allow retailers to implement the benefits of the penalty-rate reduction, in terms of additional hours of work and employment opportunities, in a reasonable manner.

The proposal is for the Sunday penalty-rates reduction for permanent and casual employees to be reduced to 175 per cent from July 1, 2017, with the second stage – reducing Sunday penalty rates for permanent employees to 150 per cent – to follow 12 months later.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman says phasing in these changes will assist retailers across the industry in creating more jobs, offering extra work hours and increasing levels of service to the community.

“Based on the evidence presented to the Commission during this industry-wide case, employees in the industry would experience no, or very marginal, negative impact, as a result of this phased approach,” he said.

The ARA says it has carefully examined the feedback from retailers across the country and strongly believes Take Home Pay Orders will be an unsustainable process in the future.

“Modern Awards needs to be simple, steady and easy to implement,” Mr Zimmerman said. “Take Home Pay Orders will add an unnecessary level of administrative complexity to this transition, which will be superfluous.”

He says creating a two-stage transitional pay arrangement for the reduction in Sunday penalty rates will allow retailers to roster additional staff on a Sunday, and give more opportunities to young workers seeking both extra hours and new employment over the weekend.

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