PENALTY RATES: The good, the bad and the $$$
THE Fair Work Commission has slashed Sunday and public holiday penalty rates and according to two Warwick stakeholders at the heart of the issue, it comes as a double-edged sword.
Belle Vue chef Mark Favero said the decision could mean putting on more staff on their busiest days, despite depriving employees of a little extra cash.
"We always want to give people more work," he said.
"When we do public holidays, we charge a surcharge and that means we can put on that extra member, rather than being understaffed.
"If we didn't do that, limited staff would be working their guts out.
"It may well be now that we can give senior workers extra work, rather than relying on juniors.
"At the end of the day, when we can't afford it, we have to understaff."
Retail and business groups had been leading the case to reduce Sunday penalty rates from double time (200%) to time-and-a-half (150%), in line with Saturday penalty rates.
Full-time and part-time hospitality workers will have Sunday rates slashed from 175% to 150%. Sunday rates for casuals will remain at 175%.
Chamber of Commerce president Lewis von Stieglitz said it could take months for Warwick to feel the full weight of the FWC decision.
"I think ultimately when there is seven-day trade people will start to realise the change," he said.
"You've got to feel for sorry for anyone whose income comes down."
However, he said small businesses could find themselves with one less obstacle thanks to the decision.
"If it encourages people to employ more staff on a Sunday, and open for longer hours there is a bit of upside," he said.
"If you're a small business, it takes away one of those reasons why you won't be open."
He encouraged business owners to sit down with their employees and tell them about the changes before they noticed a dint in their pay package.
"If you're working the same hours, and your packet is going down you've got to understand it," he said.
"There should be some compensation for working those days, but at the end of the day it is one of those jobs that is seven days a week."
Changes to public holiday penalty rates will take effect on July 1, 2017, and the variation of the early and late-night work loadings in restaurants and fast food will take effect in late March 2017.