Greens move in Parliament to protect Christmas Day penalty rates

Greens Employment & Industrial Relations spokesperson Adam Bandt MP today introduced a bill into Parliament to ensure people working on Christmas Day are paid public holiday penalty rates, in a move to override the Victorian Labor government’s decision to deny public holiday penalty rates to Victorians who work on Christmas Day. Mr Bandt called on Bill Shorten, Federal Labor and the government to support the legislation, warning that if this legislation is not passed before Parliament rises thousands of Victorians will be robbed of their public holiday penalty rates this Christmas.

“For many Australians, Christmas Day is a special day that is shared with their family and loved ones. But many others are required to work on Christmas Day, missing out on this special time,” Mr Bandt said.

“People working on Christmas Day are the people who keep our city and community up and running. They work at our hotels, they serve us at our cafes, bars and restaurants, they help us grab that last minute Christmas gift at our local retail shops and they are our nurses who keep our hospitals open and running.”

“But instead of ensuring that people working on Christmas Day are paid their public holiday penalty rates as compensation for sacrificing special time with their family and loved ones, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and his Labor government’s Christmas gift to Victorians was to deny them their public holiday penalty rates .”

“The Greens’ bill will protect people’s public holiday pay rates for Christmas and New Year’s Day in national law, so these special days are protected from future State Government Grinches.”

“Bill Shorten has said he believes Christmas Day should be a public holiday so it’s time for Federal Labor to get behind the Greens’ push to protect pay on Christmas Day.”

“Making sure Victorians are paid properly for working on Christmas Day doesn’t require a Christmas miracle, it’s as simple as the Parliament passing our bill.”

“If we don’t pass this bill before Parliament rises for the year, thousands of Victorians will be robbed of their public holiday penalty rates this Christmas.”

The Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Christmas) Bill 2016 will ensure that public holiday penalty rates are paid to people working on Christmas Day, December 25, and New Year’s Day, January 1. The introduction of this bill follows a commitment made by the Greens earlier this year to enshrine existing penalty rates in legislation, protecting them from any potential cuts by the Fair Work Commission.

View Mr Bandt’s speech introducing the ‘Protecting Christmas’ bill here.

And view the Greens’ petition calling on Premier Daniel Andrews to reverse his decision at

Media contact: Adam Pulford, 0429 109 054

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