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What is your party’s position on the reinstatement of weekend penalty rates, public holidays as time off, and protection of workers from unfair casualisation?

The Greens are committed to legislating to protect penalty rates by reversing the FWC decision to cut penalty rates and protecting them in law so they cannot be cut again.

The Greens have been fighting to give workers the right to more secure employment since 2012. The Greens will change our laws to tackle rising job insecurity and ensure casual and independent contractors are not used to undermine job security. The Greens will legislate to give workers the right to secure employment and enshrine in law the presumption that all employees have the right to ongoing, secure work.


 

Cuts to Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for hospitality, retail and fast food workers, which started in July 2017 and some of which continue to July 2020, are a devastating blow for hundreds of thousands of Australian workers. If elected, Labor will restore penalty rates in the first 100 days of government.

Too often, precarious work catches Australians in a cycle of low-pay and no-pay, with few if any escape routes such as promotion and training.

That is why Labor has committed to:

  • Reforming the definition of ‘casual’ work, setting an objective test for deciding when a worker is ‘casual’. Workers who prefer to stay in casual work will not be affected by this policy.
  • Implementing a ‘same job, same pay’ policy to ensure that labour hire workers are paid and treated fairly; and are not used to undermine the pay and conditions of direct employees.

 

We support the rulings of the independent umpire on penalty rates. We do not support ‘changing the rules’.

 


 

Weekend penalty rates have not been abolished. Decisions about penalty rates applying underawards are made by the independent umpire, the FairWork Commission (FWC), and take into account evidence, submissions from stakeholders, the views of experts and specific industry considerations. The FWC has made previous decisions to both increase and gradually decrease penalties in some cases. The Morrison Government has no plans to undermine the role of the FWC.

It is trade unions, including Bill Shorten’s AWU, that have negotiated the biggest cuts to penalty rates in enterprise agreements, often to zero on the weekends.

The Morrison Government has introduced news laws into Parliament to provide a protected legal right for regular casual employees to request to move to full-time or part-time employment, giving Australians more opportunities to work in the way that best suits them and their families.

Sadly, Labor have opposed the Government’s proposed changes, as they would rather play politics than support greater job security for workers.

The Fair Work Act provides that employees are entitled to be absent on public holidays and that employers may make reasonable requests of an employee to work on a public holiday. This has been part of the Fair Work Act since it was enacted by Labor in 2009. We have no intention of altering this provision.


One Nation supports the many small businesses which provide casual employment and the ability of people to negotiate the terms of their labour conditions within the present laws.