The Fair Work Commission (FWC) is currently deciding whether to cut or protect weekend penalty rates and they have opened up submissions from the public - the Commissioners want to hear from you! The ASU is encouraging all our supporters to raise your voices in defence of the weekend.
Do you receive penalty rates? How would you get by if you lost them? Do you care about penalty rates even if you don't get them? Tell the Fair Work Commission what they mean to you, and why they should be protected.
The Federal Government has submitted the Productivity Commission's report to convince the Commissioners to slash penalty rates. And you can bet that employer groups will be getting their members to put in submissions as well.
That's why we need ASU members plus their colleagues, family and friends, everyone who needs or cares about penalty rates to speak up.
Your personal stories are powerful. They've shifted Fair Work Commissioners in other cases by showing them what happens in the real world. Your story can help them see the reality of Australian workplaces again.
Use our submission tool to tell the FWC what penalty rates mean for working people, before 4pm Wednesday 17 February.
Creating a submission is as simple as telling your own story. Here is an example of a submission someone could make – feel free to copy this text, paste it in the online form and amend it to match your situation:
I work in [insert industry/sector, eg. energy] and I receive penalty rates. I am very concerned that penalty rates may be cut. Many ordinary workers like me rely heavily on penalty rates to make ends meet, eg. to pay the rent, mortgages, petrol to fill the car, sending our kids to school, visits to the doctor.
Penalty rates compensate me for the sacrifices I make giving up time with my family and friends. It is unfair to expect me to work unsociable hours for ordinary rates of pay. I also believe cutting penalty rates is not good for our community because it means less money spent in the local shops, which leads to fewer jobs and lower living standards.
Please protect penalty rates, otherwise ordinary people like me will be much worse off.
ASU members in energy and call centres share their stories in the boxes to the right - click on them to enlarge them.
Five reasons commonly given for cutting penalty rates
Knowing what many of the opponents of penalty rates say to undermine them is a good place to start defending them!
SPOILER ALERT: they're all myths!
- MYTH 1: Given extended trading hours, it's no longer abnormal for people to work weekends.
- MYTH 2: It's only young single people that work weekends.
- MYTH 3: The disadvantages of working weekends are only bad for those who work very long hours.
- MYTH 4: Those who work in industries that pay penalty rates are not low paid.
- MYTH 5: Reducing or eliminating penalty rates would increase employment.
For the facts, read the article by Ray Markey, Director of the Centre for Workforce Futures, Macquarie University, published on The Conversation in November last year: "Myths about penalty rates and those who rely on them".
Last year we published an article providing details about how cuts to penalty rates would affect ASU members – in case you missed it: Penalty Rates are all about fair compensation, 27 October 2015