'One size fits all' risks workers' pay on penalty rates

Queensland unions have warned that any Fair Work Commission proposals on penalty rates must ensure no worker is left worse off by a push to simplify the system.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ros McLennan says more than 400,000 retail and hospitality workers in Queensland would be affected.

“Just handing down a ‘one size fits all’ decision in the quest for simplicity is a sure way to leave many workers worse off with a pay cut they can’t afford and they don’t deserve,” she said.

“Queensland unions will reject any proposal that takes wages off one group of workers to give to another.

“Concepts like loaded rates raise a very high potential for many individual employees to be worse off.

"Typically the LNP - from Abbott through Turnbull - has deliberately sought to muddy the waters around its real motives for penalty rates.

"There is very little real detail about this proposal but what we do know is that it's clear that workers that are required to work unsociable hours need to be compensated.

“The fact that it has taken the Fair Work Commission so long to fully examine the current penalty rates regime shows how much needs to be considered,” she said.

She said polling consistently shows that cutting weekend pay rates would be out of step with community views.

“Weekend penalty rates are compensation for going to work when the rest of us are relaxing and enjoying time with friends and family, particularly this weekend when many will be enjoying the football grand finals on Saturday and Sunday."

get updates