As a general principle, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) should determine pay and conditions, including penalty rates. However, we do not believe it is fair that in a time of low wage growth workers should have their pay rates cut.
That is why we disagree with the decision of the FWC to reduce penalty rates and we support law reform to prevent penalty rates being cut by the FWC. We support legislative change to protect penalty rates to prevent employees receiving penalty rates that are lower than the rates specified in the relevant Modern Award.
We initiated a Senate Inquiry into penalty rates to examine why it is that some big businesses have been paying a lot less for weekend penalty rates than small businesses. More information about this inquiry can be found here.