Last week’s Fair Work Commission ruling on penalty rates was a long overdue step in the right direction of recognising how the new age 24/7 economy works and the continuing evolution of the workforce mix. Penalty rates have long been a drain on productivity and business competiveness particularly in regional economies. Long suffering small businesses owners want to grow their businesses and want to employ more people and now they see a ray of light at the end of that long and lonely tunnel.
The Union and Labor Party response has been ferocious and disingenuous. The Commission is the invention of the Labor Party and has enjoyed bipartisan support since its inception. The Commission is an independent arbiter and considering all the facts in the case handed down a modest change to the penalty rates for Sunday work setting the rates under the four major awards down from 200/175% to about 175/150% respectively.
The current penalty rates regime has long been an inhibiter of economic growth, preventing employers from opening longer hours and thus employing people for longer, or in fact offering more jobs to more people. There has for a long time been a strong case for reforming this crippling regime and at last the case for reform has won out. Let’s hope it won’t be the last.
The Australian economy needs flexibility as it responds to modern day demands of the modern day economy. All sides are winners in this very welcome outcome