NEWS

'Dark Day' For Aussie Workers As Sunday Penalty Rate Cuts Take Effect

About 700,000 workers will get paid less this weekend.

01/07/2017 12:14 PM AEST | Updated 01/07/2017 12:17 PM AEST
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Fast food workers are among those getting their pay trimmed.

Around 700,000 workers in some of Australia's poorest paid industries will take home less pay from this weekend as Sunday penalty rate cuts take effect.

The reduction of Sunday pay rates, which kicks in from July 1, impacts workers in retail, pharmacy, fast food, restaurant and hospitality sectors. It will see the Sunday penalty rates of these workers drop five percentage points, which the ACTU equates to a $6,000 per year hit to the hip pocket.

The changes -- the result of a Fair Work Commission ruling -- come into effect on the same day the deficit levy for those in the highest income tax bracket concludes, leading to suggestions the coalition is creating an unfair economy benefiting the rich.

The dent to workers' pay has Labor vowing to roll back the ruling if it wins the next federal election, while Prime Minister Turnbull has previously said the government supports a slash to penalty rates.

On Saturday, opposition employment spokesman Brendan O'Connor stepped up his attack on the coalition over the issue, saying it was a "dark day" for hundreds of thousands of Australian workers.

"They will be losing real income and at the same time Malcolm Turnbull will be providing tax cuts to people who earn a million dollars a year," he told reporters in Melbourne.

"That contrast is stark and frankly it's obscene that low paid workers will be losing real income as a result of the cuts to penalty rates."

He said the Turnbull Government was "sitting on its hands" by not supporting in parliament Labor proposals to rollback the cuts.

While the first cut will be five percentage points, bigger cuts will be phased in until 2019 for hospitality and fast food workers. Cuts for retail and pharmacy workers will be implemented through to 2020.

"Within 100 days of Labor being elected if we form a government at the next election ... we will reverse the tax cuts fort millionaires and we will reverse the penalty rate cuts for workers in the country," opposition leader Bill Shorten told a rally in Tasmania, later on Saturday.

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