Sunday penalty rates ruling serves as a win for small businesses

PENALTY RATES: Mary Jane's Restaurant manager Brent Riach said varied Sunday penalty rates could potentially impact Orange's larger restaurants. Photo: MATT FINDLAY                                                                                                                                    0828mfpenalty1

PENALTY RATES: Mary Jane's Restaurant manager Brent Riach said varied Sunday penalty rates could potentially impact Orange's larger restaurants. Photo: MATT FINDLAY 0828mfpenalty1

THE Federal Court’s dismissal of an appeal into Sunday penalty rates is set to bring relief to the hospitality sector, and small businesses in Orange are set to reap the benefits.

Union Voice - the union representing  the restaurant sector - recently appealed the Fair Work Commission’s decision to vary the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 and reduce Sunday penalty rates from 75 per cent loading to 50 per cent loading - the appeal was rejected.

“This is a win for many small businesses across Australia in the hospitality sector who can now afford to open their doors on a Sunday,” Vicki Seccombe, of the Central West Orana NSW Business Chamber, said.

“Hopefully this will bring to an end the ghost town effect you often see, particularly in regional communities, on a Sunday, where it’s actually more cost-effective to close rather than open the doors and be crippled by exorbitant hourly rates.

OUR SAY: Court ruling brings balance to the table for small businesses

“We’re expecting cafe owners across the state to be looking to employ more staff, as well as extending the shifts of those already employed.

“We are absolutely stunned that the union decided to challenge this ruling in the Federal Court, because logically they should welcome any opportunity that enables extra shifts for many of their members.”

Mary Jane’s Restaurant manager Brent Riach said the decision would help small local restaurants, but brought to light a potentially damaging side effect - finding staff to work without the benefit of extra wages.

“A lot of people won’t want to work,” he said.

“Without the [higher] penalty rates a Sunday becomes a normal day at work, and I’m sure a lot of people would be thinking, why work?

“It won’t affect us here at Mary Jane’s, and for small businesses it is definitely a good decision as it will cut costs.

“But for the larger restaurants and perhaps pubs around Orange it might cause staffing problems.”

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