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Penalty rates

John Freebairn argues in The Conversation (19.3.15):

‘The magnitude of penalty rates for weekends and holidays established last century likely is out of date with the 21st century. Changes in social attitudes and higher incomes have contributed to a massive increase in demand for services 24/7. At the same time, changes in social attitudes, in female and part-time employment, and especially in employment of several family members, has boosted the supply of people willing to work on weekends. It is likely that market forces of labour demand and supply would equate at much lower weekend versus weekday wage rates than the current penalty rates.

‘In the context of modern circumstances, lower minimum wages and weekend penalty rates likely would raise national well-being. But, the political challenges for change are formidable because the losers are far more visible than the winners.’

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