NOW IS THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME FOR A PENALTY RATE CUT

TONY BURKE MP.
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1 week ago
NOW IS THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME FOR A PENALTY RATE CUT
TONY BURKE MP
Retail and pharmacy workers will be up to $4800 worse off over the next 12 months because of the double whammy of Coalition cuts to penalty rates and a delayed increase in the minimum wage.
 
Hundreds of thousands of retail and pharmacy workers will have their penalty rates slashed by 15 per cent on Wednesday, making it harder for them to pay their rent, cover their bills and look after their families at a time of economic crisis – and it’s all because Scott Morrison refused to reverse these pointless and unfair cuts.
 
The Liberal and National parties voted eight times to keep these cuts, which have hit workers every year for the past four years.
 
A new analysis by the Parliamentary Library shows just how hard the cuts have hit some of our lowest-paid workers.
 
The analysis shows that over the next 12 months:
  • A pharmacy assistant who works full-time including Sundays and public holidays will have an annual wage about $4,800 lower than they may have been if the pre-Feb 2017 penalty rates had been maintained (about $54,600 versus $49,800).
  • A retail employee who works full-time including Sundays will have annual wages about $4,300 lower than they may have been if the pre-Feb 2017 penalty rates had been maintained (about $50,800 versus $46,500 per year).
  • A casual retail employee who works every week will be about $2,100 worse off ($59,200 versus $57,100).
 
And for retail workers it’s a double hit this year.
 
Their annual minimum wage pay rise has been delayed until February 1 2021 – a freeze that will cost them at least $400 ($13 a week for 31 weeks) on top of the penalty rate cuts.
 
This comes at a time when 40 per cent of workers in retail, accommodation and food services report being financially stressed already.

And it comes even though we know that penalty rate cuts do not create jobs.

Scott Morrison is leaving these workers behind.
 
These are many of the same people who kept working through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure Australians could continue to get the things they needed.
 
They proved themselves to be essential, frontline workers in a time of crisis – and this is how we thank them?
 
We know this will hurt women and young people the most because they dominate the retail sector.
 
These cuts never made sense but they make even less sense in a recession.
 
This is not the time for cuts and austerity.
 
To lift Australia out of recession we need people spending and fuelling domestic demand. Cutting the pay of our lowest-paid workers will only make this recession deeper and longer.
 
We know from previous analysis that these cuts didn’t create a single job – even though they’re costing workers an estimated $2.9 billion all up.
 
Penalty rates are not a luxury. They help people put food on the table and petrol in the car, particularly at a time when people are already suffering from reduced hours and chronic job insecurity.
Employment