Where do you stand on penalty rates?

WHEN I was 14 years old, I told a whopper of a lie.

It involved legal paperwork and everything!

The thing was, I was really keen to get a job and start earning some money of my own.


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Evidently, my mum must have felt the same, because when Kmart opened its doors at Robina Town Centre and began looking for staff, she suggested I fudge my application paperwork by adding 12 months to my date of birth.

I did. It worked!

And so there I was, at the tender age of 14 and five months, with my first ever job.

On Thursday nights after school and on the weekends, I would attend to customers’ needs and restock shelves and racks in Kmart’s apparel and footwear departments.

It was my first taste of financial freedom. From the very first pay packet I received – and I mean that quite literally; back then we were handed our pay envelopes each Thursday, containing our cash earnings from the previous week – I was hooked.

It paid next to nothing – I think my hourly rate was around $5.80? – but I truly loved that job!

I particularly loved working on Sundays, when my rate of pay shot up quite considerably. In fact, it doubled, all the way up to over eleven bucks. I was in heaven!

Penalty rates are one of the few perks that retail employers (and their friends in hospitality) have enjoyed for decades, and for good reason.

But is that all about to change?

In South Australia, legislation has just been announced that will rid Saturdays of any penalty rate at all, and see Sunday penalty rates reduced from 100% to 50%.

There’s now talk that similar regulations will come into effect on the Gold Coast.

I understand that some small business can struggle with penalty rates but I have to say, I think they have their place.

Perhaps it’s fair to reduce the burden of a double time payment on Sunday, but shouldn’t Saturday workers still be entitled to a cheeky 25% bonus?

While everyone else has clocked off from work and is enjoying their weekend, casual shift workers are just clocking in for their busiest days of trade. It stands to reason that they should be compensated a little extra for their efforts, doesn’t it?

Where do you stand on penalty rates? Should we get with the times and embrace the 24/7 economy by reducing penalty rates for employees on the Coast? Or do you think they still have their place in modern workplaces?

[signoff icon=”icon-thumbs-up”]The Meddler

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