Retailers want to phase in cuts to Sunday penalty rates

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Retailers want cuts to Sunday penalty rates to be phased in over 12 months to minimse the impact on shop workers.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) says this will also allow retailers to implement the benefits of the rate reduction, including offering additional hours of work and employment opportunities.

The association proposes the current double time Sunday penalty rates be reduced to 175% from July this year and to 150% from July 2018.

The Fair Work Commission last month decided to cut Sunday penalty rates for hundreds of thousands of retail, hospitality and fast food industry workers.

Unions say 700,000 workers, including some of the lowest paid who need the penalty loading to survive, are affected.

The commission is now taking submissions on transitional arrangements to mitigate the hardship caused by the cuts.

“After speaking with our members and legal providers, we propose the Sunday penalty rate reduction be phased through a two-stage pay arrangement,” says ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman.

“Based on the evidence presented to the (Fair Work) Commission during this industry-wide case, employees in the industry would experience no, or very marginal, negative impact, as a result of this phased approach.

“Implementing a two-stage transitional pay arrangement for the reduction in Sunday penalty rates will allow retailers to roster additional staff on a Sunday, and give more employment opportunities to young workers seeking both extra hours and new employment over the weekend.”