R&CA Welcomes Support to Reduce Penalty Rates

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Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) has welcomed Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s statement in support of penalty rate reform.
Speaking in Far North Queensland, the Premier announced that operators are finding it uneconomical to open on public holidays due to penalty rates, which is impacting on the state’s tourism.
Mr Newman stated at the Mission Beach Information Centre that consumers are feeling the brunt of closures and it’s up to the Federal Government to act with a review of penalty rates.
The Commonwealth has asked the Fair Work Commission to look at penalty rates as part of its four-year review of the award wage system.
R&CA CEO John Hart says that penalty rates is the reason that half of Australia’s restaurants close on public holidays and about one third on Sundays.
“I would like to see a flat rate for staff working on weekends or for penalty rates to only be paid when staff are working their sixth or seventh day.
“When restaurants are closed, no-one earns money – but fairer penalties could mean businesses remain open and staff work – and therefore create an extra 3,500 jobs in the industry.
“I welcome the Queensland government’s stance on this issue and hope this sends a clear message about the impact of penalty rates on tourism. Whilst the responsibility does lie with the Fair Work Commission, Queensland could return to a State IR system to help to solve the problem’, said Mr Hart.
R&CA has lodged an appeal to a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission seeking to overturn the decision not make significant changes to the Restaurant Industry Award.
It comes after the association made an application under the Modern Awards Review Process in 2012, which highlighted deteriorating trading conditions since the making of the Restaurant Industry Award 2010.
The Restaurant & Catering application sought to make changes to penalty rates, classification structure and payment of wages under the Restaurant Industry Award.

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