Penalty rates decision – Sunday and holiday pay still respectable

06 Mar 2017 |

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry today released indicative figures outlining the impact of changes to Award penalty rates on the Sunday and public holiday wages of small business employees.

The changes were decided by the Fair Work Commission, the independent umpire, and will only affect employees on award rates in the retail, pharmacy and hospitality sectors. The modest reduction in these penalty rates will help employers to open their doors on Sundays and offer more jobs and more work hours.

James Pearson, CEO of the Australian Chamber, said: “However you look at it, employees will still receive a decent rate of pay when they work on a Sunday.

While the decision is yet to be implemented, based on today’s base wage rates with the new penalty loadings:

  • A 21 year old casual shop assistant in the retail sector working on a Sunday would earn more than $270 a day. On a public holiday, that jumps to more than $388 a day.
  • A 21 year old permanent cook in a hotel working on a Sunday would earn more than $269 a day.  That rises to more than $400 a day on a public holiday[1]
  • To put those wages into context, a relief teacher in Victoria earns $293.30 a day [2].

The Fair Work Commission’s decision to introduce a modest reduction to penalty rates means employees will still receive a significant loading for working on a Sunday or public holiday.

Mr Pearson said “Employees will still be paid more for working on Sundays than any other day of the week.

“Under these modest changes, Sunday and public holiday award wages in the retail, pharmacy and hospitality sectors will still be respectable.

“What these modest changes will do is help make it possible for employers to open their doors on Sundays. They will be able to offer more hours to those who want them and more jobs for those who need them.


[1] Figures assume no change in wage rates. Based on an employee working 8 hours on a Sunday within a spread of hours from 7am to 9pm.

[2] http://www.education.vic.gov.au/hrweb/Documents/Salary-CRT.pdf

AusChamber Media Contact

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