penalty rates protest

How the unions’ failure could make Australian businesses more money

The Federal Court have found no issue with the Fair Work Commission’s decision to reduce penalty rates.

The unions have lost this battle.

Justice Mordy Bromberg has said:

In the view of the court, the Fair Work Commission’s decision, read as a whole, reveals no jurisdictional error.’

It might be a blow for Labor and the unions, but for local Australian businesses, this could be a huge benefit.

The decision will inject more profitability for local restaurants and shops and create more work for Australians.

The chief executive of The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, agrees. Chief executive James Pearson is encouraging Australian businesses to take the opportunity to get on with it:

Now that the Federal Court has made its decision, employers should be able to get on with implementing these changes, and start offering longer opening hours and more shifts on Sundays’.

But that hasn’t stopped the Opposition jumping on the bandwagon.

Bill Shorten tweeted:

Disappointing decision in the Federal Court. It’s clear the best way to protect penalty rates is to vote Labor.’

There’s a good chance this will do the Labor party a disservice.

With the Federal Court decision in favour of the changes and the potential gains for local businesses, there isn’t a downside.

The changes made will realistically only be a 12.5% reduction in what staff will be earning. That isn’t a substantial loss to workers, but will be enough to revitalise the economy.

This has created a win-win for Australian employers and employees alike.

In today’s society, the 9–5, Monday–Friday work force is becoming less and less prevalent. Working Sundays should not be a huge ask in our new 24/7 lifestyle.

Back when penalty rates were introduced, things were very different. Working a Sunday would’ve been a big deal. Very few Australians would’ve been participating, compared to today’s rates.

But that was in the early 1900s.

It’s absurd to compare the need then, to the current work climate.

The introduction of technology makes things more available, more often. There simply isn’t the need for penalty rates based on ‘unsocial hours’, anymore.

A University of South Australia survey found that over 18% of Australians, work Sundays.

An ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) survey from 2014, suggested that over 38% of Australians work weekends on a regular basis at their primary job.

An even larger number, 72.2%, of Australians in the University survey admitted to working a weekend in the 12 months prior.

Standard hours are changing and new tech is making things more accessible, more often. That means any hour can be social!

The greatest reason for Sunday being a particularly important ‘rest day’, is the penalty rates themselves. And that isn’t a very good reason.

We need to embrace the changes to work lifestyles. Spreading business more evenly across the whole week makes life easier for both businesses and consumers.

It’s time to stop fighting it.

Brittany Prentice

Brittany Prentice

Brittany Prentice is a skilled writer here at The Australian Tribune. She has a double degree in Literary Studies and Linguistics from Monash University. She has made contributions to language textbooks in Australia, and translation for robotics software in Japan. She has an appetite for sharing big ideas in business, finance, and politics both locally and around the world.

Comments: 3

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  1. Yeah, more work, Lower paid work. That’s what this means – work more, or earn less. An employer’s dream.

  2. In these days of extreme costs for everything, now is not the time to reduce workers income. Trust me I work Sundays sometimes and I would love to be home but the penalty rates soften the blow.

  3. Yes, Brittany, you are talking out of your ass. People who work on weekends can often only work those days or that is all that is available to them, such as students. With rents in the cities what they are and generally the cost of living being this high, rate cuts are the last thing they need. You are obviously on a lot more money, but try a wage cut yourself by donating 12.5% to charities!