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ACTU: Penalty rate decision opens door for pay cuts in nursing, teaching and other sectors

The Australian Council of trade unions (ACTU)  has received independent legal advice is that shows  that the recent decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to cut penalty rates  puts workers in other sectors at risk as well.

Maurice Blackburn advises that  because the factors the FWC considered, including consumer expectation for services on weekends and public holidays, might be applied to other awards and sectors. While some people think the penalty rates decision only affects hospitality and retail workers, it in fact puts other sectors at risk of penalty rates cuts.

Giri Sivaraman, Principal in Employment Law at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers says ‘Whilst the FWC went to great pains to state they were only considering the hospitality and retails awards, in reality their findings could be applied to many other industries,”

“In our view, this decision leaves the door wide open for any industry that works weekends and public holidays to also be hit with the same penalty rate cuts that will soon affect retail and hospitality workers.”

ACTU President Ged Kearney says “We now know that all workers who receive penalty rates and work unsociable hours are at risk of having their penalty rates and public holiday pay cut.”

“The Turnbull Government opposes penalty rates and won’t protect them even though it has the chance, which is why Australian Unions will not stop campaigning until this decision is overturned with legislation that protects penalty rates and other conditions for workers.”

Maurice Blackburn advises the other sectors at risk include:

• aged and health care staff;
• nurses;
• transport workers;
• security personnel;
• cleaners;
• construction workers;
• clerical workers;
• laundry and dry cleaning workers;
• hair and beauty specialists;
• teachers and other education providers;
• miners;
• social, community, disability and home care workers; and
• nursery workers.

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