Penalty rate reduction will help small businesses to create jobs

Tuesday 28 February, 2017

Small business operators from across Australia have spoken loud and clear – reducing penalty rates will allow them to hire more staff and give more work hours to existing staff, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today.

James Pearson, CEO of the Australian Chamber, said: “Small businesses in retail and hospitality are saying that existing excessive penalty rates are holding back job opportunities, and the decision of the Fair Work Commission will unquestionably help them to hire.

“While some staff may have their hourly pay reduced, extra work hours are likely to be available, and people who up until now have been squeezed out of the job market will get new opportunities. We know that retail and hospitality are the sectors where many young people get their first job, so this decision will be a boon for youth employment.

“With 725,000 people out of work, including 259,000 young people, we need to make it easier for employers to take on employees. Last week’s penalty rates decision does just that.

“The Parliament needs to respect the decision of the Commission, which was based on the evidence of more than 100 experts and many weeks of hearings. Parliament needs to respect the decision of the independent umpire rather than seeking to meddle.

“Reducing penalty rates will create job opportunities, improve levels of service the community and help more small businesses remain competitive. But all these benefits will be put at risk if the Parliament tries to overall the decision.”

Since the penalty rates decision many small business operators have spoken to the media about how the decision will improve job opportunities. Here is a selection:

“As a business owner it means we can hire more staff and have more working on Sundays which works best for customers.” – George Kanellos, Rose Hotel, Sydney

“It will certainly increase our ability to put on more people. In the current situation the consumer gets less amenity, staff get less work, the government gets less tax and businesses get less turnover. I fail to see a winner.” – Will Nevile, Wharf One, Cairns 

“Staff might find they get more hours or get hours on Sunday all together.” – John Lynch, Jack Hotel, Cairns

“This means more choice for consumers and more flexibility for restaurants, plus with many people unemployed across the country we need to make it easier to for employers take on new staff.” – Steven Premutico, Dimmi

“I don’t want to be there on a Sunday, I work six days a week at the moment, and that’s my family day with the kids. So if I can staff it at a reasonable price, I absolutely would do it.” – Carla Burns, Vanilla Pod Cake and Deli Café, Brisbane

“I know a lot of local businesses who are running lean on staff or don’t open the hours they want to open because of the pay rates on Sundays. It will give them incentive to put on more people and open longer. It’s a job creation move.” – Martin Brady, Gold Coast Combined Chamber of Commerce

“Retailers have been operating smaller staff on Sunday due to higher costs. … It’ll bring better service and more hours for staff.” – Michael Newtown-Brown, Leisures, Sydney

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