Cafe Cappello co-owner Tamaya Rose, seen with employees Jessica Hughes and Jesse Matthews, believes public holiday penalty rates are excessive. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Cafe Cappello co-owner Tamaya Rose, seen with employees Jessica Hughes and Jesse Matthews, believes public holiday penalty rates are excessive. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

Businesses finding it too expensive to open over Easter

LIKE many locally-owned cafes, restaurants and small businesses in our region, Café Capello in Lismore will be closing its doors over the four-day Easter long weekend due to unaffordable penalty rates.

Co-owner Tamaya Rose said the business had been closed every public holiday in the three years it's been running due to penalty rates making staying open "financially unsustainable."

"There are times when it would be useful; there's people in town, it could generate business," she said.

"But at the same token, we're a partner-run business, we work ourselves and we can only do so much on minimal staff. We would need all our team on, and it wouldn't be worth it."

Ms Rose said while the closures affect the cash flow of the business, it was more difficult for staff who rely on a weekly wage.

"For our staff, it's hard," she said.

"Everybody we talk to can't afford to open."

 

Northern Rivers NSW Business Chamber regional manager John Murray said the issue of penalty rates was particularly important for the Northern Rivers.

"This region relies heavily on tourism and hospitality," he said.

"The sad fact is, over Easter, which traditionally used to be a time when businesses could put money in the bank for the winter period, with penalty rates, many businesses will chose to close their doors."

Mr Murray said the Chamber wasn't against penalty rates, only the current "excessive" rate.

He said the current penalty rates also had a significant impact on youth unemployment.

"The other issue is the Northern Rivers is the third worst region in Australia for youth unemployment," he said.

"Yet many businesses will be closed and opportunities to give youth some work and some employment over Easter will not be realised."

 

Public Holiday Penalty Rates

  • Staff working in a cafe or restaurant on a public holiday receive a 250% loading on their base pay.
  • This means an introductory level full-time employee who normally receives $16.87 per hour will receive $42.16 and a casual employee on the same level, normally on $21.08 an hour, will receive the same.

 



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