Illawarra workers are being warned to keep a close eye on their pay packets from the Easter long weekend, with some confusion around the new penalty rate cuts and which days are gazetted public holidays.
Slater and Gordon Principal Employment Lawyer Aron Neilson said employees should remember that it is against the law for their bosses to short-change them on penalty rates.
“This is the first lot of public holidays since the Fair Work Commission announced penalty rate cuts to workers in the hospitality, fast food, restaurant, retail and pharmacy industries, so we’re expecting some confusion among employees and employers,” Mr Neilson said.
‘’Cuts to public holiday penalty rates not due to come into effect until 1 July 2017, so it would be illegal for any employers to reduce their workers’ pay this Easter.’’
Dates for Sunday penalty rate cuts are not expected to be finalised until a hearing in May. Cuts that have already come into effect are changes to loading penalties, which affect workers in the restaurant and fast food industries working overnight shifts.
Cuts to public holiday penalty rates not due to come into effect until 1 July 2017, so it would be illegal for any employers to reduce their workers’ pay this Easter
Under the changes, restaurant workers will only be paid an extra 15 per cent on shifts between midnight and 6am (previously 7am). Fast food workers only get an extra 10 per cent per hour between 10pm and midnight (previously 9pm to midnight).
“Workers should double check they’ve been paid correctly and if their calculations don’t match their pay slip, they should raise it with their boss.”
Good Friday and Easter Monday are the only two national public holidays guaranteed by the National Employment Standards in every state and territory over Easter. Sunday is only a gazetted public holiday in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT.
“If Easter Saturday or Sunday are not recognised as public holidays in your state, weekend penalty rates will still apply and you should double check you are being paid correctly,” Mr Neilson said.