The National Retail Association is today warning that more businesses around the country will close their doors over this Easter long weekend than will keep them open, as employers struggle to pay their staff on public holidays.
NRA CEO Trevor Evans said it’s a trend only set to grow with penalty rates hitting employers hard.
“The reality is it has become more economically viable for retailers to close on public holidays rather than wear the astronomically high penalty rates,” Mr Evans said.
“The impact of this is far more inconvenient than people realise. Tens of thousands of Australians working in the retail sector are missing out on vital weekend wages and it’s costing the country millions in lost revenue.
“Many of those who do stay open have to begrudgingly pass on a public holiday surcharge to their customers to make ends meet.
“It’s a double-whammy hit and it’s time the system is overhauled. This is hurting the hip pockets of employers, employees, consumers and ultimately the economy.”
Mr Evans said the solution is to make penalty rates more reasonable, citing the recent South Australian landmark deal as proof a compromise can be reached.
“South Australia has shown the way for how to seek a better balance between the needs of employers and employees,” Mr Evans said.
“While the South Australian deal might not work for every business, it shows unions and businesses can and should be thinking about jobs and employment rather than just penalty rates.
“The NRA would like to see sensible changes made to penalty rates across all states and territories so more businesses can stay open when their customers most want to shop.”
The NRA is Australia’s largest and most diverse retail industry organisation, and has been representing the interests of the retail, fast food and broader service sector for almost 100 years.
NRA CEO Trevor Evans is open for interviews over the Easter long weekend. Media contact: SAS Media and Communications 0402 862 351
FAST FACTS ON PUBLIC HOLIDAY PENALTY RATES:
Employers are required to pay casual staff double time and three quarters per hour a 175% increase.
Employers are required to pay permanent staff double time and a half per hour a 150% increase.