Senate Testimony on Cutting Penalty Rates

Our Director Jim Stanford was requested to testify before the Senate's Education and Employment References Committee on August 24, 2017 regarding the Fair Work Commission's decision to cut penalty rates for work on Sundays and public holidays in four major sectors of the economy: retail, hospitality, pharmacy, and fast food.

Stanford's testimony reviewed the Centre's original research on this topic, including:

  • The gendered impact of lower penalty rates, with the bulk of the pain being experienced by women workers.
  • The likelihood that lower penalty rates will spread to other sectors of the economy, and the aggregate economic cost if they do.
  • The lack of significant employment effects in the affected industries that can be expected to result from lower penalty rates.
  • The impacts on workers' real wages over the 2- or 3-year transition periods which the FWC has determined for the reductions (showing that phasing-in lower penalty rates does not avoid the harm to workers' real wages).

Dr. Stanford's full testimony can be read here.


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