Award Penalty rate changes – 1 July 2017

Sunday loading rates for employees covered under the Retail, Hospitality, Pharmacy and Fast Food (Level 1 only) Awards are about to change.

From July 1, a 5% decrease in penalty rates will apply for Sunday and Public Holidays.  The full rate changes cannot be applied for between 3-4 years.  Rates for full and part time employees in most of these industries will eventually reduce to 150% of what the rate is currently.   Casual staff have slightly different rates.

What can SMEs can implement from July 1?

Small business owners now have a choice on whether they start implementing new Sunday rates for eligible staff immediately, or whether they want to continue to pay their existing loadings, says workplace lawyer Peter Vitale.

However, for full-time and permanent part-time workers, SME owners should make sure the contracts their staff are employed under don’t compel them to keep paying the previous loading rates.  There may be a question of whether the contract of employement compels the employer of ongoing employees, the rates previously paid.  Seek legal advice for this.

Paul Hurkmans

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