Penalty rates payable to a casual worker who works on Sundays has fallen in the hospitality sector from 75% to 50%.
Penalty rates payable to a casual worker who works on Sundays has fallen in the hospitality sector from 75% to 50%. Peter Holt

Chamber: Penalty rates cut is a win

THE Mid North Coast NSW Business Chamber believes the decision by a full bench of the Fair Work Commission regarding penalty rates on Sundays is a great win for the Mid North Coast Region.

Last week the commission reduced the penalty rates payable to a casual worker who works on Sundays in the hospitality sector from 75% to 50%.

Chamber executive Kellon Beard said the NSW Business Chamber was one of the employer groups that made this application.

"The commission found there was a link between penalty rates and employment prospects, something that we have argued since day one," Mr Beard said.

"The health and wellbeing of the Mid North Coast region is linked to our attractiveness as a tourist destination, and with the amount of venues that couldn't afford to open on Sundays, it was becoming a real problem.

"The NSW Business Chamber has been calling for a proper root and branch review of the penalty rate system, and this decision by the Fair Work Commission should make people sit up and take notice about the impact these prohibitive rates have on creating and maintaining jobs, especially on the Mid North Coast region.

"I know some parts of the union movement will be split by this decision, however we've said all along that if cafes and restaurants can't afford to open at all on Sunday's, not only will their members not receive any penalty rates, they won't get paid a wage at all.

"This is, and was, never about ripping penalty rates away from workers. It's about finding the middle ground to make it financially possible for owners of businesses to continue to trade on Sundays, as opposed to closing their doors because of their wage bill."