Greens release bill to stop penalty rate cuts taking effect

Greens Industrial Relations spokesperson Adam Bandt MP today released the Greens’ bill to stop the cuts to Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for people working in retail, fast food, hospitality and pharmacies from coming into effect. The bill will also protect penalty rates from any future cut by enshrining existing penalty rates in law.

The Greens will move to have the bill debated in Parliament before the Fair Work Commission makes legally binding orders to give effect to yesterday's decision to cut penalty rates. The FWC has foreshadowed that it won't make legally binding orders for at least 2 to 3 months, giving Parliament the opportunity to pass laws before any cuts come into effect.

“The Greens want Parliament to act urgently before the Fair Work Commission makes legally binding orders that will smash many of our lowest-paid and youngest workers,” Mr Bandt said.

“The planned cuts to people’s penalty rates will hurt many people hard."

"Coffees won’t become cheaper on Sundays and there won't be golden flowing rivers of new jobs, but many people will find it much harder to pay the rent.”

“I hope Labor and the crossbench support the Greens’ move to stop these devastating cuts to people’s penalty rates coming into effect. I will be seeking discussions with members of Labor and the crossbench over the coming weeks in the hope of securing their support.”

“If we band together behind this bill, we can pressure the government to act to stop these cuts from coming into effect, especially if the bill passes one House of Parliament.”

“I'm open to discussions about the content of the bill, but I think it strikes the right balance. This bill maintains the Commission's independence, allowing it to continue to set penalty rates on a sector-by sector basis, but it puts stronger guidelines in place for the Commission to follow. Just as Parliament has legislated minimum leave standards that the Commission can't go below, this bill gives the Commission clear guidance that the community expects a strong legal floor to sit beneath any penalty rates changes."

“The Greens will continue the fight to protect penalty rates and people’s rights at work.”

You can download a draft copy of the bill here.

Media contact: Adam Pulford, 0429 109 054

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