Sunday penalty rates compensate those who would otherwise be enjoying family time, Queensland’s premier says.Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said proposed changes to Sunday penalty rates were unfair, but she would wait to see where the federal government fell on the Productivity Commission report.
In its final report into workplace relations released on Monday, the commission recommended Sunday penalty rates, which set down that workers earn double their usual rate, be brought into line with the lower time-and-a-half Saturday rate.
The federal government has said it would examine the recommendations and take any changes to the next election.
But that hasn’t stopped unions from speaking out against proposed changes to the rates, which would hit the most vulnerable and lowest-paid workers hardest, and Ms Palaszczuk said those who gave up their Sundays for work deserved to be compensated.
“On a Sunday people are giving up quality family time to go and work and now we see the federal government is looking at stripping that away,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“It’s not fair because families, our mums and dads out there, their children, go and work on a Sunday when they could be spending time with their family at home undertaking family activities.
“That is why they are paid more.
“The report has just been handed down. It’s going to be very interesting to see where the federal government lands on this particular issue.”
New Employment Minister Grace Grace said any proposed lowering of penalty rates was a “step in the wrong direction”.
“Penalty rates have been around for many years and a lot of them are negotiated through awards and agreements and we think that it is a backwards step to take that take-home pay that workers depend on away from them for the hours that they are working.
“…As employment minister, there’s no evidence to suggest that if you cut penalty rates it is going to mean more jobs.
“We believe that penalty rates have been here for a long time. They are part of workers’ take home pay.”
Queensland unions have vowed to take the fight over penalty rates to the next election, in much the same way they fought against privatisation at the last state poll.
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