19 April 2019

The so-called Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut public holiday pay rates for some of Australia’s lowest paid workers will bite particularly hard over the next fortnight. According to analysis by the Centre for Future Work: “The unique concentration of public holidays within the 10 days starting on Good Friday (amounting to a total of 6 holidays or Sundays in most states) dramatically highlights the scale of those losses. Over that 10-day period, we estimate that wages will be $80 million lower than if penalty rates had been maintained.” And because the cuts are still being phased in, by 2020 the loss will be $107 million over ten days. At the same time, the economic benefits bosses promised have not materialised: “hiring in sectors where penalty rates were not reduced has been five times faster since July 2017 than in the retail and hospitality sectors (where penalty rates were cut)”. Elsewhere, we learn: “New research from the University of Wollongong measured Sunday shifts worked before and after the penalty rate cuts in July last year; … the rate has now slumped to below 2017 figures.” Lower wages and less work.