The Fair Work Commission yesterday announced a decrease in penalty rates for hospitality, retail and fast food workers. Here’s what you need to know:
  • Sunday penalty rates for the hospitality, retail and fast food industries have been decreased.
  • For permanent hospitality workers’ penalty rates will go from 175% to 150%
  • For permanent retail workers’ penalty rates will go from 200% to 150%
  • For casual retail workers’ penalty rates will go from 200% to 175%
  • For permanent fast food workers’ penalty rates will go from 150% to 125%
  • Workers employed under the Pharmacy award will also see penalty rates decrease from 200% to 150% if permanent, and from 200% to 175% if casual.

These penalty rate changes can affect small businesses in many different ways. While some reports state that low-income employees may be up to $6,000 worse off per year, many employers say the changes will be a good thing. Decreasing penalty rates leads to:

  • Small businesses can now afford to hire more people for weekend shifts
  • The level of services provided on Sunday’s and public holidays will increase
  • Some employees may find an increase in their working hours overall.

It is important to remember that some employees may be disgruntled and upset over the change in their wages. Clear communication is vital to ensure that all employees understand the benefits of the reduced rates, from more working hours becoming available to increased opening hours for the business. Be open and honest about how your organisation will handle the rate decrease and exactly how employees will be affected. Advise all employees of any changes in writing.


For more information on penalty rates and the new decreases contact us on (08) 9316 9896 or

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