Sunday Penalty Rates Just Got Cut In Australia [Updated]

Sunday Penalty Rates Just Got Cut In Australia [Updated]

The Fair Work Commission has decided to reduce penalty rates for hospitality and retail staff around the country. Here’s what you need to know.

Sunday penalty rates will be reduced for hospitality, retail and fast food workers, the Fair Work Commission has ruled. The changes to weekend rates will come in late March, while changes to public holiday rates will come in on July 1 this year.

Currently, the decision will only affect hospitality, entertainment, retail, restaurants and cafe workers. Full, part-time and casual employees will all have their Sunday penalty rates reduced. (Saturday penalty rates will remain unchanged.)

In the hospitality award, the penalty rate for full-time and part-time employees will be reduced from 175 to 150 per cent. Retail workers and those working at pharmacies will see their Sunday double time reduced to 150% of their hourly rate. Casual hospitality workers have been spared the rate cut but will need to give up other entitlements.

Here are the current penalty rates in Australia:

According to the Fair Work Commission, the cuts will lead to increased services and trading hours on public holidays and Sundays. Because bars and cafes are never open on Sunday, right? Tch.

See also: Sunday Penalty Rates Slashed: How Will It Affect You?


  • Doesn’t affect me, but damn that sucks for everyone that it does impact. A lot of people survive off of those penalties, I know I did when I was working those shifts

  • On one hand I can see where they are coming from…if businesses don’t need to pay as much for their employees to work on Sundays, they can afford to stay open longer. On the other hand though, it may be more difficult to convince their employees to work on Sundays now

    • It should be depending on the size of the business, a small cafe with 10 employees shouldn’t have to pay PR, but McDonalds should

      • But then you’re just incentivising people to work for corporations rather than small businesses and tipping the scales against people who already do work for small businesses.

        The fair thing to do is same penalty rates for all eployees of an industry but bigger companies pay more taxes, like it would ideally work if humans hadn’t fucked up capitalism.

    • I suppose the thinking is that market-based forces will push up salaries in order to attract staff to work on Sundays, which is theoretically better than an artificial, government-mandated prop up to wages. It’s in line with liberal values of minimising government intervention (nanny state), but I’m sure there are good arguments against as well.

      • Argument is blown out of the water by bargaining power disparity. If there are 1 million people for 800k entry level retail and hospitality jobs, then applicants have no ability to negotiate better pay or conditions, and employers have no reason to offer them.

  • Assuming that the back-packer serving your coffee is being paid on-the-books and not cash in hand, or the sixteen year-old casual is aware of their rights…

    As a small business owner, I see this for what it really is – an erosion or protections. In a few more years we will see a push to cut penalty rates altogether.

    I don’t open on Sunday because I want to spend time with my family, and I assume so too do many others. It was not a decision predicated upon the cost of penalty rates.

  • “Because bars and cafes are never open on Sunday, right? Tch.”

    I assume you’re being facetious but I live in the outer suburbs of Sydney and most local cafe’s are absolutely closed on Sundays. I do feel sorry for anyone that relies on penalty rates to make a decent wage but many cafe’s can’t sustain those Sunday wages and therefore don’t open. If this change means that my favourite locals will now be open, then i’m all for it.

    • You can add Perth to that too.

      With so many places finding they can’t afford to open on public holidays it’s pointless even trying to eat out.

      The high penalty rates seem to actively counter their purpose – 150% (or 175%) of nothing is still nothing. In fact, for public holidays, it’s worse: staff lose out on being able to earn standard day rates. They are actively disadvantaged.

  • What I can see happening is that the work will see that it is not economically wise for them to work on the Sundays and they will seek employment elsewhere or even might turn to Centrelink as they might have to and get around the say amount they will be getting underneath these new rules.

  • Doesn’t impact me, but I know a lot of people who sacrifice because they need penalty rates. I know couples who don’t have any days off together because they need these kind of things.

    So the impact will be interesting.

  • Many young people currently show very little interest, pleasantness and common courtesy in shops and stores, I have been served many times with these people who give the impression that they don’t want the job they do.
    The current problem is exacerbated by too many opening hours early and late when trading is at a minimum, so not good news when paying penalty rates and not making a profit.
    Australia’s system in payments, wages and taxes is in a ridiculous mess. Reduce taxes on wages and ever product, increase the basic wages and pensions because 7% of wage tax was paid into a Pension Fund for retirement. This fund was taken and spent, $billions, by governments but the 7% WAS NEVER REMOVED.
    If people were paid a substantial wage with lower taxes, if taxes on necessities were lower people would not need penalty rates, and it is humanely DISGUSTING that in Australia the wealthy are becoming wealthier, including politicians, the low-paid working class and the poor are becoming poorer.

    [Confucious] “In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.”

  • I work as a chef, I work 2 jobs and I rely on the rates I get on weekends and public holidays to pay rent, eat etc. People need to eat, its a basic need and it should hold a little more sway than pushing papers. Australia has become like America in so many ways, greed and profit rule supreme and screw the rest of us that feed you because you are too lazy to do it yourself.

    • So screw us as we “are too lazy to do it ourselves” Okay then, if we all stop being lazy and do it ourselves, why will you be needed in two jobs or even 1 job for that matter? Do you see the absurdity of your diatribe against the same lazy people who eat out so you can have a job or two?

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