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The penalty rates time-bomb is ticking

David Peetz writes in The Conversation (1.6.16) about the issue of workers’ penalty rates, suggesting that problems lie in wait after the federal election for either major political party. The author describes the parties’ likely responses to an impending decision on the matter from the Fair Work Commission.

‘A looming decision on weekend penalty rates presents problems for both major parties in the lead-up to Australia’s federal election. The Fair Work Commission seems likely to hand down its decision in the controversial case soon after the federal election.

‘Nobody knows what the commission’s decision on penalty rates in the retail and hospitality industries will be. There seem to be more tea-leaf readers predicting it will cut Sunday penalty rates to match Saturday rates than who think it will make no changes.

‘If so, employer organisations would be happy, but many retail employees will be worse off. Pressure would grow for cuts to penalty rates elsewhere.’

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