The Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce has again called for the Palaszczuk Government to scrap its plans to declare a part-day public holiday on Christmas Eve, with public submissions on the idea set to close in a few days time.
The Queensland Government announced earlier this month it was considering declaring a part-day public holiday on December 24 from 6pm to 12 midnight.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk argued the move would ensure everyone working that night is properly compensated.
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“Making it a public holiday would give those who have to work like essential services staff, hospitality workers and shop employee’s better pay for doing so,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“A worker in the hospitality industry would be better off by around $146 dollars for the night, according to the Hospitality Industry General Award.
“While some have no choice, others should have the right to say no to Christmas eve shifts with the full protection of the law.”
However, the Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce claims the plan could be disastrous for business.
“At the outset, I would express the fact that business operators understand employees want time off on Christmas Eve to spend with their family. This is because small and medium size businesses are predominantly owned and operated by mothers, fathers and families,” President Martin Hall said in a letter on Friday.
“But this proposed extra public holiday is not warranted and not wanted.”
A Chamber of Commerce and Industry survey of Queensland business owners and managers found that more than half opposed the public holiday.
48 per cent said they would close their business for the entire day if the part-day public holiday is confirmed.
Another quarter said they and/or a family member would work in the business on the day to keep labour costs down while only 7 per cent said they will open their businesses and absorb the higher labour costs.
“Queenslanders can ill-afford the cost for a half- day holiday at a time when private sector economic growth is slowing, Queensland’s unemployment rate of 6.3% remains the second highest in Australia and business confidence remains low,” Mr Hall added.
“The proposal will also result in national inconsistency in public holiday timing. This will result in disruption to Queensland businesses, particularly those who operate across state and territory borders.
“Fundamentally, the proposal penalises businesses for employing staff and fails to acknowledge that businesses are already struggling with high costs and are simply unable to absorb the higher labour costs that come with this part-day public holiday.”
There are only a few days left for locals to have their say on the issue. Wrritten submissions on the proposal with the Office of Industrial Relations close at 4pm on Monday, September 2.