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Newsagents cut rostered hours in response to penalty rates

Mark Fletcher
April 2nd, 2013 · 22 Comments

In the survey I ran over the weekend, 75% of newsagents responding indicated that they cut paid rostered hours on Sunday given the higher than usual labour cost for the day.  This is an example of penalty rates working against employees.  I expect that many casual newsagent employees would have been happy with Sunday rates on Sunday.  120 newsagents responded to the survey.

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Category: Newsagency management

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jenny // Apr 2, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    We didn’t open Sunday, it wouldn’t matter what the pay rate is, Easter Sunday has never been a good trading day for us.

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  • 2 Luke // Apr 2, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    We had a bloke in on monday complaining about nothing being open (it did not matter to him that we were) but when I asked him why he was not at work he replied it was a public holiday so he did not have to work? Go figure

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  • 3 Alicia // Apr 2, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    You voted labor and thats what u got

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  • 4 Mark Fletcher // Apr 2, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Yep, you’re right. John Howard outlawed penalty rates.

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  • 5 rick // Apr 2, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    no he didnt, he let individuals and business negotiate the terms of employment. im sure my staff could negotiate a wages deal with me that would result in a win win situation for everyone.
    the gillard govt does not represent traditional labour values, so many are out of the union movement that they all think corruption is an acceptable form of government. shame on them, and traditional labour voters will lament the years of political wilderness and irrelevence that gillard and her team will bring to the labour party in the many years ahead. im only sorrythat the labour party will be as ineffective in opposition as they are in govt, not a good result for democracy in this country.

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  • 6 Alicia // Apr 2, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    My business always suffers under a labor government. Take the dyed in the wool unionists out of the front bench and there would be a gaping hole, as there will be on the 14th September

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  • 7 Baz // Apr 2, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    My staff are angry that they have been priced out of earning because of high penalty rates. They need to work all the hours they can to pay for all the things they need at their stage of life… Uni, car, rent phone etc and their employment is further threatened by yet another wage push from the ACTU. These kids want this changed as much as small business owners do…no one wins. The neanderthol thinking of the Unions and FW Australia will only continue to to put more young people at a dis-.advantage, and there will be thousands leaving schools again this year hoping to get work with small business to help pay their way. WE SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO HIRE STAFF, NOT PENALISED !!!!

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  • 8 Dave // Apr 3, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    The consumer should pay for the privilege of being able to shop, or eat, or drink, or get petrol, or whatever.
    We’d be happy to pay penalty rates if we could surcharge every Sunday /PH transaction by 10-15%. Of course the only way this’d work would be if it were mandatory for all service providers and retailers, But it would certainly test if customers genuinely wanted the opening hours they currently expect.

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  • 9 Jarryd Moore // Apr 3, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Rick,

    While its nice that you have such faith that your staff could negotiate fair working arrangements with you, what about all those workers who aren’t skilled negotiators? What about those unethical employers that would take advantage of their workers if they had free reign to do so?

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  • 10 Luke // Apr 3, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    And the unions have proven to be so ethical in what they do, on one hand they claim to represent average workers while the other hand is in the back pockets of workers ripping them off.

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  • 11 Hamish // Apr 3, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    What about reversing your reasoning Jarrad? Not all employers are skilled negotiators and not all employees are ethical. Seems like a thin argument to me to maintain the situation we face now.
    What about the 26+ pages of pay rates I deal with now?
    What about Fair Work giving me three different pay rates for the same employee from three phone calls?
    What about it being my problem if i get it wrong even after seeking and implementing their advice?
    What about business not opening because of penalty rates?
    What about Employees missing out on shifts because of penalty rates?
    What about big business being able to negotiate employment contracts with unions outside of the framework and small business not having the same oppotunity?
    What about deregulating trading hours but not the industrial relations system?
    What about encouraging small business to grow and invest?
    What about freedom of choice for both employees and employers?
    What about the conversation i had with my local Labor MP who agrees the situation is farcial and who wouldn’t entertain the idea of owning or starting a small business?

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  • 12 Steve // Apr 3, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Don’t expect any change to penalty rates after the election. John Howard over stepped with work choices the Labour party created Fair Work Australia and took things too far the other way and wedged the opposition.Any attempt to roll back FWA will be branded a return to Work Choices and thats the last thing Tony Abbott wants. If Labour does the unexpected however and gets re-elected get ready for the next round of IR reform which will include paid holiday’s for casual staff among other ridiculous union claim’s.

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  • 13 Baz // Apr 3, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    I was employed with a large producer in NSW for 9 years and they lost some $180K in inventory ‘shrinkage’ annually…mostly consumables, I know our local council is some 3 times that amount. If you put that across the BHP’s, major industry, councils etc, perhaps the unethical employer tag is a bit one-sided ?. I know we have been tapped as I am sure many others have. One of my ex customers was a ‘your rights in the workplace’ rep, and stated that he had visited many work places across the state and found that there was little complaint against WC, and we must not believe all the neanderthal ravings we have to bear. Interesting …my understanding is that only 13% of employees are represented by the ACTU..what does that tell you about the determinations of Fair Work Aust. Yes Steve you are right about a return of Labor, but I am encouraged by the young people I employ and my own daughters friends…they know what is wrong with the IR system, and will vote accordingly….

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  • 14 Jarryd Moore // Apr 3, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Hamish,

    That is correct – not all employers are skilled negotiators and not all employees are ethical. However in the majority of situations there is a power imbalance between an employer and an employee.

    I’m not sure why you are dealing with 26+ pages of pay rates. We have one page provided to us by MGA.

    The rates that form part of the award are not confusing in themself. The incredibly complex area is the transitional arrangements – which differ state by state over 5 years. As I understand it there would likely have been similar transitional arrangements when WorkChoices moves to a national award.

    The Fair Work Ombudsman will generally only prosecute if they find someone to be deliberately breaching the law.

    I agree penalty rates, at their current levels, are a problem. They were a problem under WorkChoices as well.

    Small business does have the ability to negotiate agreements outside the award. Groups of employees are able to negotiate agreements outside this framework in the same way a union does. They are called Enterprise Agreements.

    Trading hours are mostly dealt with mostly at a state level. There is obviously a disconnect between federal awards and trading hours that needs to be addressed. I suspect this may be a constitutional issue?

    Freedom of choice is fine, but such freedom shouldn’t allow more vulnerable parties to be taken advantage of.

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  • 15 Jarryd Moore // Apr 3, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Steve,

    I could not find a single article referencing paid holidays for casual staff.

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  • 16 Steve // Apr 3, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    Jarryd

    Go to google enter “unions push for casual leave” press enter. #1 ABC news article dated 24/12/12 #2 The Australian.ect ect. Next time do your homework.

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  • 17 Jarryd Moore // Apr 3, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    My apologies Steve, I was only looking more recent articles.

    I would note that the casual leave bank addressed in the article was simply an idea put forward by the ACTU. They indicated that they simply wanted to open the issue up for discussion.

    The #2 link, an article from The Australian, says the following:

    “Mr Oliver [ACTU secretary] also disclosed unions would be prepared to consider a cut in loadings paid to casual employees in exchange for employers funding portable schemes to give non-permanent workers access to paid sick, annual and family leave”.

    So its not really that crazy of an idea and, instead of being immediately hostile, I see no reason business shouldn’t come to the table to at least have a discussion about it.

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  • 18 rick // Apr 4, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    remove the shackles of unfair dismissal and there might be a few more part time employees getting these entitlements and less casual employees

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  • 19 Steve // Apr 4, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    No worries Jarryd. The problem with unions saying they’ll accept a cut in loadings is it only happens if the employee is paid the base award. Its the same as the increases in compulsory super. If you pay the award the increase is taken into account in future wage increases,if you pay above award rates you aren’t subject to award increases but must pay the extra super. it is possible you may claw it back in the future but most employer’s will just pay a bit more super and keep on going. For the record I support the increases in super as long as the government doesn’t try to claw it back through dodgy changes to super taxation to fund their own future.

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  • 20 Jarryd Moore // Apr 4, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Steve,

    If casual loading is reduced by a certain percentage, then that reduction is able to be applied to all employees – even those being paid above the award.

    If you cruuently pay above the award it is my understanding that you are able to reduce those payments to award level (possibly with notice) at any time.

    It is also my understanding that the possible changes to superannuation taxation will be targeted at high income earners/contributors. Just about no no one working in the retail industry would be subject to such tax increases.

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  • 21 Steve // Apr 4, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Jarryd

    People are paid above award wages because they are valued by their employer and or too hard to replace. Its an incentive to not leave and recognition of their value to the business. I’d suggest in the majority of cases these same reasons will result in in the employer taking on the full cost and leaving casual rates/wages before super untouched. If you value them your not going to cut their take home pay to compensate yourself for the increase in super.

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  • 22 Jarryd Moore // Apr 4, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Steve,

    My first two sentences were in relation to a casual leave bank, not super.

    Yes, the majority of employers will take on the extra cost of super. It’s the burden of an ageing population.

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