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The full bench of the Fair Work Commission today reduced public holiday rates in five modern awards, effective from 1 July, as well as Sunday penalty rates in four modern awards, which will be phased in over at least two annual instalments.

The decision impacts the following modern awards:

  • Fast  Food Industry Award 2010 (Fast Food Award)
  • General Retail Industry Award 2010 (Retail Award)
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 (Hospitality Award)
  • Pharmacy Industry Award 2010 (Pharmacy Award)
  • Registered and Licensed Clubs Award 2010 (Clubs Award), and
  • Restaurant Industry Award 2010 (Restaurant Award).

50 percentage points have been cut from Sunday penalty rates and 25 percentage points from public holiday penalty rates.  

Additional rates for working early morning and late night shifts have also been reduced in the Restaurant and Fast Food Awards.

Saturday penalty rates have been left untouched under the Fast Food, Hospitality, Restaurant and Retail Awards, with a decision yet to be made for the Clubs and Pharmacy Awards.

The new reduced public holiday penalties will be effective from 1 July 2017. The Commission is seeking comment from interested parties about appropriate transitional arrangements, to minimise the immediate impact of the changes to Sunday rates. Once transitional provisions are agreed, the Commission has said it will insert "loaded rates" into these Awards—allowing an employer to pay a higher hourly rate for each hour worked—in lieu of other penalties, loadings and allowances.

The Commission is calling interested parties to make submissions on other changes sought, such as changes to the terminology used in some awards, and the review of other awards (most notably the Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2010).

The full bench said today's changes "provide no warrant for the variation of penalty rates in other modern awards".

What does this mean for employers covered by these awards?

The Commission will publish draft determinations for comment by interested parties, but at this stage the proposed changes are as follows:

Award

Sunday penalty rates

Public holiday rates

Hospitality Award

Full-time and part-time employees

Casual employees

 

175% to 150%

No change

 

250% to 225%

275% to 250% (No change)

Restaurant Award

Full-time and part-time employees

Casual employees

 

No change

No change

 

250% to 225%

250% (No change)

Fast Food Award 

(Level 1 employees only)

Full-time and part-time employees

Casual employees

 

 

150% to 125%

175% to 150%

 

 

250% to 225%

275% to 350%

Retail Award

Full-time and part-time employees

Casual employees

 

200% to 150%

200% to 175%

 

250% to 225%

275% or 250% to 250%

Pharmacy Award

(7 am–9 am only)

Full-time and part-time employees

Casual employees

 

 

200% to 150%

200% to 175%

 

 

250% to 225%

275% to 250%


For employers operating under these Awards, we encourage you to monitor these developments and provide any submissions on the changes to the Commission by 24 March 2017.

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