Penalty rates cuts will leave Australian workers worse off

23 February 2017
Today’s announcement to cut Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for hospitality and retail workers will leave thousands of Australians worse off and drive a further wedge in the two class economy for working people, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers said today.

Maurice Blackburn Employment Law Principal Josh Bornstein said many Australian workers were reliant on penalty rates to make ends meet, and the impacts for lower paid workers in particular from today’s decision would be significant.

“Already in Australia workers are experiencing record low wage growth, and today’s decision to cut Sunday and holiday penalty rates for some of the country’s lowest paid workers is likely to exacerbate the growing economic problems of wage inequality, insufficient tax revenue and sluggish demand,” Mr Bornstein said.

“There are regular reports of the lowest paid workers in the country being forced onto sham contracts or being underpaid through other precarious work arrangements. Today’s decision will further disappoint these workers.

“The increasing gap in wage equality is not just an issue in Australia; it is damaging economies throughout the world.

“The Federal Government has been missing in action on this debate, happy to allow the country to sleepwalk further into a two class economy when now, more than ever; we need action and leadership to address wage inequality.

“Maurice Blackburn stands with the union movement in supporting better outcomes for all working Australians and more enlightened government policy," he said.

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