Penalty rates


Briefing paper

Update on penalty rates and job-creation: two years later

This paper shows that employment growth in retail and hospitality has been far slower than in other parts of the economy (where penalty rates remained constant) and job-growth in the two sectors actually slowed by more than half after penalty rates began to fall.
Discussion paper

Fork in the road: the impact of the two major parties’ penalty rate policies in the 2019 federal election

This report forecasts the impact on workers' incomes over the next term of parliament under the two major parties' respective penalty rates policies.
Briefing paper

April holiday cluster highlights income losses from reduced penalty rates

This research puts a number on the total loss of wages that will be experienced by workers in the broad retail and hospitality sectors through the coming holiday period: $80 million this year, rising to $107 million for a similar period once the rate cuts...

Inquiry into penalty rates and fair pay: final report

This inquiry, the first completed by a Legislative Assembly select committee in many years, examined the impact on Victorians of the Fair Work Commission’s 2017 decision to reduce penalty rates in the hospitality, fast food, retail and pharmacy sectors.
Briefing paper

Penalty rates and employment: one year later

Reduced Sunday and holiday penalty rates for retail and hospitality workers have failed to ignite the 'boom' in employment, as promised by employer groups who supported the change.

Slashing penalty rates: a misguided response to problems of the past

There needs to be more of a focus on the adverse effects of lower wages for the economy as a whole, argues John Quiggin.

Penalty rates

Penalty rates are a long-standing and important part of Australia's workplace relations framework. They are rightly seen as an important mechanism to ensure that people are adequately compensated for missing out on family activities, on social and family gatherings, and participating in community events.
Fact sheet

Fact Check: Have 700,000 of the poorest-paid people received an effective pay cut?

In February 2017, the Fair Work Commission decided to reduce minimum Sunday and public holiday rates for some award workers in the retail, pharmacy and hospitality industries. Opposition spokeswoman for justice Clare O'Neil claims it amounts to a pay cut.

Penalising work – a historical account of penalty rates in Australia

This report argues that reform is required to allow for greater flexibility over penalty rates in what is currently a highly centralised system.

Tip of the iceberg: weekend work and penalty pay in 108 Australian industries

Australians continue to debate the Fair Work Commission’s recent decision to reduce Sunday and holiday penalty rates for retail and hospitality workers. This report investigates the prevalence of weekend work in other sectors of Australia’s economy - and confirms the overall economic importance of extra...
Briefing paper

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

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...

The importance of penalty rates to our health workforce

Following on from the McKell Institute’s report on the economic impact of penalty rate cuts in Australia’s retail and hospitality industries, this report looks at the economic and health impacts of cutting penalty rates for nurses, midwives and aged care workers. This report highlights the...

Who loses when penalty rates are cut?

This paper outlines the history of penalty rates in Australia and gives a snapshot of the contemporary debate on the topic. Then, focusing on the retail and hospitality sectors, it looks at proposals aimed at reducing or removing penalty rates all together. As an important...

The persistent challenge: living, working and caring in Australia in 2014

The Australian Work and Life Index (AWALI) survey measures how work intersects with other life activities, as seen by a randomly selected representative group of 2,690 working Australians.