Australia's Fair Work Commission reckoned cutting penalty rates would create more jobs.
University of Wollongong economics lecturer Dr Martin O'Brien says the evidence so far shows no jobs have been created.
Dr O'Brien and colleague Ray Markey at Macquarie University recently completed a comprehensive study which found no evidence of more employment in hospitality and retail because of reduced penalty rates.
'We collected data before the first penalty rate cut [July 1, 2017] and after the first penalty rate cut and also more recent data after the second penalty rate cut [July 1, 2018]. We were looking at a couple of different before and after type analysis and essentially couldn't find any evidence," Dr O'Brien said.
'The Fair Work Commission was basically saying these employees were going to have more public holidays, more Sundays and that would lead into more weekly hours. We found absolutely no evidence for any of it.
"Nor could we establish a decrease to the number of hours that owner-managers worked Sunday and public holidays, something else the Fair Work Commission also predicted."
Dr O'Brien said cutting penalty rates didn't help the economy's biggest problem - low wage growth.- which is spilling over to weak demand and consumer confidence.
"The ABS wage price index data shows clearly that wage growth is historically low which has been echoed over and over in recent years by the Reserve Bank," he said.
"A direct spin off from this appears to be ABS retail turnover stats which show that the volume of retail turnover per capita has been flat since 2016 and this has coincided with the flat employment outcomes in retail and hospitality that has persisted even after the penalty rate cuts.
"Low wage growth is an obvious reason why spending is down. Low wage growth across the economy is quite a difficult problem to solve and it is going to be at the forefront of whoever gets into government after the weekend."