WATERCOOLER: Are holiday penalty rates too costly?

ANGELA Baker has owned the Scarness FoodWorks store for more than 15 years and has prided herself on keeping her shop's doors open every day of the year.

But it is a costly task to pay the double time penalty rates to staff on public holidays, such as Monday's Labour Day holiday.

Not only does it mean Angela herself must work to save on costs, it also means staff at the store miss out on paid hours.

Are you in favour of penalty rates or against them?

This poll ended on 03 May 2016.

Current Results

I think staff deserve the extra money for working public holidays

70%

I think they should be abolished as they're too costly for businesses

27%

I'm not sure at this point

1%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Instead of rostering on employees to man the counter throughout the day, Angela said she worked instead, with a minimum three-hour casual shift offered to staff for customer service duties late at night.

"If we pay staff (to work), it is not worth opening," Ms Baker said.

"We used to employ staff to work public holidays, but now we just get them to come in at night. The higher the rates go, the less work there is."

Ms Baker said visiting holidaymakers in Hervey Bay's top tourism spot of Scarness, also missed out on the chance to buy locally, with many shops along the Esplanade closed for business on public holidays.

​How do you feel about having staff work on public holidays? Join the discussion and tell us below. 

"If penalty rates are reduced it would be nice, even just a decrease in Sunday rates, that would be good," she said.

Late last year the Productivity Commission released a report into Sunday and public holiday penalty rates, labelling them as "excessive".

But a pushback by the Fair Work Commission means that evidence will not be heard until next month, which could delay any decisions made until after the July Federal Election.

The union-led Save our Weekend campaign, launched soon after the release of the Productivity Commissions' report, has led the charge against cuts to penalty rates.

It argues penalty rates acknowledged work done during "unsociable hours" to help underemployed staff pay bills.



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