Briefing paper

A "transition" to nowhere: on the impossibility of avoiding the social costs of reduced penalty rates

Wages Employee protection Penalty rates Employment Law Australia

Government and business leaders have proposed a range of possible “transition” mechanisms to ease the economic hardship, and defuse political anger, following the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut penalty rates for work on Sundays and public holidays in the retail and hospitality industries. This briefing note critically reviews several of these proposals. 

Whether they are motivated by sincere concern for affected workers, or by more cynical interest in managing a challenging political issue, proposals for “transition” and “adjustment” cannot alter the ultimate regressive effects of the Fair Work Commission’s decision.

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