Swan Chamber of Commerce says penalty rate cuts will be good for small business, but workers are opposed


Hospitality workers say they are opposed to cuts to Sunday penalty rates.
Hospitality workers say they are opposed to cuts to Sunday penalty rates.

CUTS to Sunday penalty rates will be good for small businesses according to Swan Chamber of Commerce, allowing them to create jobs and offer more hours.

Chamber president Gerry Hanssen said the recent ruling by the Fair Work Commission to cut Sunday penalty rates from July 1 for retail, hospitality and fast food workers would help drive the local economy.

“While many will be against the changes to the weekend penalty rates there will be just as many for it as it will create far more jobs,” he said.

“More small hospitality businesses in particular will open their doors which they couldn’t afford to do under the current system.

“Many people believe that any 38 hours you work in the week regardless of which days they are should be at normal hourly rates and only when you work overtime should those penalty rates apply. It is debateable.

“If you choose to work in an industry that operates weekends then that is your choice.

“Generally those people have days off during the week when most other people are working.”

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But Me n u owner Gabrielle Wallington said many in the industry disagreed with the penalty rate cuts.

“I have worked in the hospitality industry since I was 17 and there are obvious downfalls to working weekend and shift work,” she said.

“A lot of hospitality employees are mothers working on weekends to pay the bills.

“They might be missing out on watching their kids play sport, seeing family and friends and they should be compensated for that.”

Ms Wallington added the decision would make it harder to retain good staff.

“If the rate is dropped then for many it will not be worth their while to work on a Sunday,” she said.

“Employees are likely to call in sick more frequently on a Sunday because there is less incentive to work.”

But Mr Hanssen said he expected the changes would only impact on new staff.

“I would imagine those valued hardworking productive people working under the present award would not have to worry as most employers would keep them on the same rate as they have been getting,” he said.

“Most business owners are smart enough to know that good employees are hard to find these days so they wouldn’t risk losing them by cutting their wages.

“It will only be new staff coming on in the future who would be employed under the new award.”

Ellenbrook resident Tenniele Carroll said she worked three jobs in the hospitality industry and believed the changes would have a negative impact on both employers and employees.

“I am working 90 hours a week in two cafes and at a nightclub and there will be many workers who just won’t be willing to work Sundays any longer,” she said.

“This change to penalty rates will have a domino effect.

“Employers will find it harder to get good staff to work on the weekend which means for the public they won’t get the quality customer service.

“This will end up costing businesses more, no money will be saved.”