Fair Work Commission cuts penalty rates

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has welcomed the Federal Court’s judgment to uphold the Fair Work Commission decision on penalty rates.

The Federal Court has found the Fair Work Commission met its legal obligations through the exhaustive two-year process it undertook to reach a decision.

“Small business operators will be relieved at this decision, which levels the playing field in competition against big business,” Ombudsman Kate Carnell said.

“Big business and unions have made deals in the past through enterprise agreements which traded penalty rates for union membership and higher base rates.

“Small businesses don’t have the capacity to negotiate enterprise agreements and continue to grapple with the most complex award system in the world.

“People’s lifestyles and expectations have changed over the past 20 years. Fewer people go to church and many people want to work and shop on Sundays and public holidays.

“It’s a shame that unions are running a scare campaign against the penalty rates decision.

“Everyone should respect the decision of the independent umpire; otherwise the integrity of the system is undermined.”