Australia's lowest paid workers could be in line for a small pay rise.
Australia's lowest paid workers could be in line for a small pay rise. Barry Leddicoat

Low paid workers set for increase of up to $16 a week

MILLIONS of low-paid workers are expected to win a pay rise today under a decision that will soften cuts to penalty rates.

The Fair Work Commission said on Monday tens of thousands of workers would start losing cash from July but it is widely tipped the commission will increase the minimum wage for millions of employees today by up to $16 a week.

The commission announced its decision in February to cut penalty rates for retail, hospitality, pharmacy and fast-food workers but it was only yesterday it announced its transition plan.

Employer groups yesterday expressed frustration with the new four-year phase-in for some Sunday rate reductions, while outraged unions announced they would fight the changes in court.

Under the landmark overhaul, public holiday penalty rate cuts will be fully implemented from July 1, with Queensland's show day holidays marking the new changes.

Sunday workers will have their penalty rates cut by 5 per cent from July. The full cuts will be made over three years under the fast-food and hospitality awards, four years for fulltime and part-time workers in retail (but three years for casual employees) and four years for pharmacy workers.

How do you feel about the penalty rate cuts?

This poll ended on 13 June 2017.

Current Results

I don't think it's fair on employees to cut penalty rates.

63%

It needs to happen for businesses to survive.

26%

I don't like it, but increasing the usual rate softens the blow.

9%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Ros McLennan said workers in north Queensland would feel the first public holiday penalty pay cuts.

Ms McLennan said a TV and online ad campaign was launched last night in regional Queensland, asking MP George Christensen to support a Bill that stopped the pay cuts.

"If you work under an award in retail, hospitality, fast food or pharmacy, you will cop a pay cut of between $36 to $63 for working a public holiday after July 1,'' she said.

The National Retail Association chief executive officer Dominique Lamb said she was disappointed by the long transition period for the cuts.

"Retailers need a break and they need it now, as consumers are continuing to tighten their discretionary spending belts," Ms Lamb said.

"We're seeing big names like Top Shop going into voluntary administration and Australian mainstays like Oroton staring down the barrel of significant losses."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said workers' worst fears had been realised and urged Mr Turnbull to support legislation that would stop the cuts from happening.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash accused Labor of a "scare campaign" and said the adjustments to Sunday penalty rates would "even the playing field for Australia's small businesses, which have to pay more for staff on Sundays than big businesses who do deals with big unions".

News Corp Australia

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