BETTER FOR BUSINESS: Mitchell White from Indulge.
BETTER FOR BUSINESS: Mitchell White from Indulge. Paul Beutel

Politicians the winners as workers brace for penalty cuts

WHILE restaurant and retail workers are about to get less in the pocket, politicians are licking their lips for a wage increase.

As of July 1, 2019, any full-time, part-time or casual employees will have their weekend and public holiday penalty rates cut from 180 per cent to 165 per cent.

Before the cuts were implemented in 2017, Sunday penalty rates were 200 per cent of a person's hourly rate.

Since then, rates have been dropping each year.

In 2016, a part-time employee who worked six hours for $25 per hour on Sunday would have earned $300.

After July 1, additional cuts will take a further $22.50 out of a worker's weekly pay, leaving them with just $247.50 in the pocket.

While many were unhappy about the penalty cuts, Indulge cafe owner Mitchell White said it was good for him.

"From a business point of view it's a good thing, cutting those penalty rates will allows us to be open for longer," Mr White said.

"Penalty rates are the reason we don't open on public holidays. It's just not worth it because it costs us more than we make."

He said while the cuts wouldn't largely affect his employees because they didn't open Sunday, as a former employee he could understand both sides of the coin.

"As a staff member I can see a lot of negatives of that... but it also allows businesses to put more staff on if they do open on public holidays," he said.

"Those days are usually very busy and with extra staff, businesses should be able to run a lot smoother."

He also said it was no surprise that on the same day penalties were being slashed, politicians would see a two per cent wage increase - more than the 1.3 per cent rate of inflation.

Federal politicians have received a two per cent remuneration increase since January 2016.

Bundaberg councillors will also benefit from the increase.

Mayor Jack Dempsey's salary will rise to $155,067, Deputy Mayor Bill Trevor will receive $102,019, and all other councillors will take home $89,775.

Federal member Keith Pitt will receive a pay increase to $211,250.



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