Cuts to aid Sunday trade

MORE businesses in Leeton will have the potential to open on Sundays following the recent penalty rates decision. 

The Leeton Chamber of Commerce and Industry has backed that idea and called on cafes and other hospitality businesses to open their doors on a Sunday. 

A full bench of the Fair Work Commission handed down its decision to reduce penalty rates as part of the Penalty Rate Case last Thursday.

These changes will impact businesses who are covered by the hospitality, restaurant, retail, fast food and pharmacy awards.

Full-time and part-time retail workers will have their Sunday rates reduced from 200 per cent to 150 per cent, while casual employees will drop from 200 per cent to 175 per cent.

In the fast food industry, some full-time and part-time employees – classed as level one workers – will see a reduction from 150 per cent to 125 per cent, while casuals will be cut from 175 per cent to 150 per cent.

However, while the numbers may not sound good for workers, Leeton chamber president Jodie Ryan believed there could be a silver lining. 

“Personally and professionally … I don’t believe things will change too much,” she said. “What we would love to see happen is for more cafes and those types of places open on Sundays in Leeton as a result.”

The Murray-Riverina NSW Business Chamber actively spoke in favour of the penalty cuts throughout the process. 

“What people don’t seem to realise is the lure of penalty rates disappear if a business is closed,” regional manager Ben Foley said. “Staff only get paid if the doors of a business are open.”

The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association was also concerned it would impact the health sector, according to its acting general secretary Judith Kiejda.

“There’s a real prospect changes in one industry will have a ripple effect into others, this is a genuine threat to our nurses and midwives who rely on penalty rates for 20 per cent of their income,” she said.