Sunday penalty rate changes to commence on July 1: Everything SMEs need to know

Sunday penalty rate changes to commence on July 1: Everything SMEs need to know

The small business community has certainty at last over the transitional arrangements for the new Sunday penalty rates that will apply to a range of awards, but legal experts warn it’s important not to jump the gun.

After a four-month consultation process and plenty of submissions from business groups and unions, the fiery issue of changes to Sunday penalty rates was reignited on Monday when the Fair Work Commission handed down its decision about how the lower rates for retail, hospitality and pharmacy awards will be introduced.

Industry groups were hoping for a swifter introduction of the changes, but as it stands, the Commission has decided the process will take between three and four years.

Given the complexity of the changes, experts are urging SMEs to read the fine print before acting on the changes.

Here’s what you need to know:

The changes, award by award


As decided in February, Sunday loading rates for full-time and part-time workers covered by the Retail Award will drop from 200% of the regular hourly rate to 150%.

Casual workers will eventually see a decrease from 200% to 175%.

The Commission’s decision involves a four-year rollout period for full-time workers and a three-year transition for casuals. This starts on July 1, 2017, when the rates will drop 5%, from 200% to 195% for full-time, part-time and casual workers.



The Sunday loading for hospitality workers will eventually transition from 175% to 150% of the usual hourly rate for full-time and part-time workers, while casuals will see no change.

This change will be introduced over three years, starting with a 5% drop, from 175% loading to 170%, from July 1, 2017.



The plan for pharmacy workers is to move towards a 150% loaded rate for full-time and part-time employees who work between 7:00am and 9:00pm on Sundays, and to 175% for casual workers who are rostered during these hours.

This will be a four-year transition, starting with a 5% reduction in rates from July 1, 2017.


Read the full article on the SmartCompany website.