Productivity Commission to review minimum wage and penalty rates
The effect of the minimum wage and penalty rates on businesses will be examined as part of the Productivity Commission’s wider review of the industrial relations system.
Five papers released by the Commission set out the key areas of focus for the Workplace Relations Framework inquiry. The ‘Safety Nets’ paper examines the Federal minimum wage, National Employment Standards, the award system and flexibility, and penalty rates.
The paper notes that penalty rates ‘have aroused a special degree of controversy’, and that there are polarised views about the appropriateness of weekend penalty rates in the retail and hospitality sectors in particular. Among the questions it raises are ‘what changes, if any’ changes should be made to remuneration for non-standard hours of working; whether employers would still have to pay a premium to attract labour on weekends and holidays if penalty rates were deregulated; and what can be learnt from the experiences of New Zealand, the UK and the US, which ‘generally do not require penalty rates for weekends’.
The Productivity Commission will release a draft report in June or July and present a final report to government on 30 November. To read the issue papers, click here.
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