If you’re working in hospitality, you’ve probably heard about the updated penalty rate changes implemented by the Fair Work Commission.
Like many hospitality employers and those working in the hospitality industry, we are frustrated by the Award Review’s decision made 2 weeks ago. The changes affect namely casual and part-time entitlements and these distortions will be carried out on the 1st of January, 2018.
The Fair Work Commission has sanctioned that any casual employee working more than 38 hours a week, or 12 hours a day will be entitled to penalty rates for every hour over 12 per day and every hour over 38 in a week. These penalties start from 150% and increase to 200% of the normal pay rate once the employee has worked two additional hours in surplus of what is now allowed for that day or that week.
These changes might influence more employers to offer full-time employment where employees may be expected to work over 38 hours a week to compensate for the restrictive penalty rate changes. Basically, the outcome could mean a lose-lose situation for employers and employees alike.
Here’s a direct link to the Fair Work Commission’s full breakdown of all the updates.
Why the general reaction has been negative
The Fair Work Commission has mandated these significant changes with little to no proven consultation to the hospitality industry. It has also been implemented in the midst of our current challenging economic climate, so soon after other rate changes, and with minimal notice during the industry’s busiest time of year. It also creates more work for employers and can residually restrict employees from hours that they were otherwise keen to work. More than that, it could be hours that they were counting on. Ultimately, these disruptive changes have not bode well for good reason.
On the other hand
There could also be some favourable results from the penalty rate changes. Hear us out: For example, it could influence operators to schedule more effectively, which could mean less overworked employees. Keep in mind that these overtime and break penalties have been set up to deter employers from exploiting their staff in the first place.
What to do
If you, like many, are distraught with these adjustments, we encourage you to contact the Fair Work Commission or your Industry Association to provide feedback. While it’s unlikely that the government will retract the Fair Work Commission’s implementation, your voice matters and, in our humble opinion, the Commission should be aware that their poorly-planned decisions won’t be quietly accepted without consequence. With any luck, an influx of feedback can influence these decision-makers to act more diligently before making drastic changes moving forward.
As always, we are here to support.
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