Cobar businesses don’t appear to be in favour of the penalty rate cuts announced by the Fair Work Commission last Thursday which will affect hospitality, fast food, restaurant, retail and pharmacy workers.
A survey by The Cobar Weekly of some of the local businesses that operate on Sundays and public holidays resulted in all having very similar negative opinions on the cut in penalty rates.
While the decision means that fast food outlet employees could loose up to 25 per cent of their penalty rates, Cobar Subway franchisee, Jenny Smith, told The Cobar Weekly she won’t be cutting her staff’s penalty rates.
“I’m going to keep our girls on the same rates so it really hasn’t changed us. The girls are good so I’ll pay them properly,” she said.
Full and part-time hospitality workers will also face having their penalty rates cut by 25 per cent and casual staff stand to loose 25 per cent of their wage on public holidays when the new penalty rates come into force in July.
Cobar Bowling & Golf Club secretary/manager, Demi Smith said while the cuts will mean businesses could potentially make more profit, she is not happy with the decision.
“A lot of our staff rely on penalty rates, a lot only work on the weekends. I believe we may struggle to get new staff to work on weekends with cuts to the penalty rates,” Ms Smith said.
Cobar Memorial Services Club secretary/manager Linda Carter said she doesn’t believe that it will make a difference in terms of business profit.
“You need four people to loose 25 per cent of their penalty rates to get enough to pay another person and we just aren’t that big a business. I don’t believe they should have a cut. If people give up their weekends to work they should be compensated for it,” she said.
Family run local businesses such as the Empire Hotel and the Cobar Newsagency, who open on Sundays and work in the businesses themselves, don’t believe the penalty rate cuts will affect them.
“If I decided to go away for the weekend then yes it would affect the business,” Ruth Mullins from the newsagency said.
She doesn’t however agree with the cut to the penalty rates.
“If you expect someone to work on Sundays then they should be adequately compensated for it,” Mrs Mullin said.
Under the new regulations to come into force, retail workers who work in full or part time jobs will loose 50 per cent of their penalty rates on a Sunday and 25 percent on a public holiday while casual workers will loose 25 per cent on a Sunday and up to 25 percent on a public holiday.
Manager at Burgess SUPA IGA, Leanne Chandler, said the changes to penalty rates will affect the supermarket and, while she might not agree with the cuts, it will mean the business will be able to employ more people.