PENALTY RATE CUTS: Workers across a range of industries will earn less money with penalty rate cuts taking place over the next four years.
PENALTY RATE CUTS: Workers across a range of industries will earn less money with penalty rate cuts taking place over the next four years. JOEL CARRETT

Gympie workers will be paid less as of next month

GYMPIE workers will be paid less as of next month, as the Fair Work Commission laid down its cuts to penalty rates for retail, hospitality, pharmacy and fast-food workers.

The commission announced its transition plan on Monday, with the new four-year phase-in of penalty rate cuts.

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The changes begin on July 1, with a 5% Sunday rate reduction and as much as 25% reduction to public holiday penalty rates.

Fast-food and hospitality awards will experience the full cuts over three years, four years for pharmacy workers as well as full-time and part-time retail workers, with three years for casual employees.

The Fair Work Commission released their Summary of Decision, which details the extent of changes to penalty rates.

"The effect of the Penalty Rates decision was to reduce Sunday penalty rates to 150 per cent for full-time and part-time employees in the Hospitality, Retail and Pharmacy Awards and to 175 per cent for casual employees in the Retail and Pharmacy Awards,” the report said.

"The Sunday penalty rate for casual employees in the Hospitality Award remained unchanged at 175 per cent.

"The decision reduced the Sunday penalty rates in the Fast Food Award to 125 per cent for full-time and part-time employees and 150 per cent for casual employees.

"The Penalty Rates decision also reduced the public holiday penalty rates in the above awards as well as the Restaurant Award.”

Gympie Chamber of Commerce President Ben Riches is hopeful the changes will be good for Gympie.

"I think it could be a positive thing for small businesses in town,” he said, highlighting their potential to provide more employment and help stores open on weekends.

"I feel for those who could miss out but it could lead to more opportunities.

"It's very quiet everywhere on a Sunday.”

Two hospitality workers, a waitress and a barista who chose not to be named, said penalty rates are often relied upon.

"These jobs don't pay that well so our penalty rates are usually what's left after you take out bills and other stuff,” the waitress said.

"Not to mention the fact we sacrifice our public holidays to work while everyone else enjoys the day off.”

The barista suggested the cuts will help businesses and business owners but said it won't create more jobs because the amount of work will not increase.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the decision will enable small business to take on bigger players.

"This is a justified decision, backed by plenty of evidence from the final penalty rates decision report. Finally small business and family enterprise owners across Australia will have a chance to compete with big business,” Ms Carnell said.

It's understood some Gympie businesses would not be reducing Sunday penalty rates.