Penalty rate cuts: Workers react to Fair Work Commission's announcement.

By Mark Reddie.

The Fair Work Commission has announced penalty rates on public holidays and Sundays will be cut in the hospitality, retail and fast-food industries.

These changes will hurt many of the country’s lowest-paid workers.

We asked retail, hospitality workers and students that are likely to be affected by the changes for their thoughts.

Cutting Sunday penalty rates is really unfair. I work part-time in a bar and earning more on Sundays gives me more free time to study so I can get a good job after university. Now I will have to work more for less money, and it’s not like I have a choice. There’s no other alternative but to continue working Sundays.

Helena Doherty, 24, chemistry student

Imagine if you slashed the pay of office workers, there would be an absolute outrage, but it’s like it’s OK to do it to people who serve these office workers. Cut me some slack. No-one can afford a house in Australia and the Government is just making it worse by choosing to cut extras. These decisions always hurt the people that work the hardest.

Corey Turk, 25, barista

I pay so much tax as a foreign worker that I feel cutting Sunday rates wouldn’t really make too much of a difference. Other countries around the world don’t have these rates and we have it pretty good here in Australia — the quality of life is high. Of course people aren’t going to be happy, but they will get used to it and it’s only a matter of a few dollars they are losing.

Sirinapa Utsasan, 29, grocer

I am a bit of a jack of all trades and I only work at this clothing store a few days a week, so the decision to cut Sunday rates isn’t going to have a huge impact on my life … but for single mothers or those who rely on penalties, it’s really a disgrace and they will be the ones who pay. Eventually, the politicians in this country need to think about the real people who are affected by the big decisions.

Tom Studee, 34, entrepreneur

The decision to reduce Sunday penalty rates isn’t that bad, although I would obviously prefer to be paid more rather than less. Hopefully it means bars and restaurants will remain open longer on Sundays because it won’t cost employers as much to pay staff. It’s so annoying when cafes shut early on Sundays, and I think it will be good for business by reducing rates only slightly.

Dominic Wattam, 19, communications student and retail worker

I don’t know how cutting these Sunday rates will affect me because we are considered retail, so I think it would. Either way, I have worked in hospitality before and the whole reason you put up with difficult customers is because you get paid incentives to work on weekends. I think it will mean more people will struggle to put themselves through uni and then they will have to rely on their parents more, which is really crap.

Chase Scales, 22, gym manager

I work at this cafe part-time to make some extra money while I study mental health, so cutting these Sunday rates sucks. How are employers supposed to retain staff without these incentives? I don’t think the politicians have really thought this decision through. We have such good working conditions in Australia, it seems a shame to start getting rid of them. I will still have to work Sundays regardless, so it will mean I have to work harder for less, which is unfair.

Tamara Warrington, 24, mental health student


  • Reporter: Mark Reddie.
  • Producers: Clare Blumer and Sue Daniel

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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