Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Hoteliers welcome penalty rates change

Rochester restaurants have responded to a Fair Work Commission decision to change Sunday penalty rates.

ELAINE COONEY May 22, 2014 8:15am

Rochester restaurateurs welcomed the Fair Work Commission’s decision to slash Sunday penalty rates for staff.

Restaurants need to pay staff time-and-three-quarters for Sunday, but from July 1 will have to pay time-and-a-half.

‘‘It’s pretty good for small business,’’ Shamrock Hotel owner Ian Crouch said.

‘‘You pay so much in penalties on Sunday that you put on fewer staff,’’ he said.

‘‘When you have dos and functions (on Sundays) you pull staff back to a minimum,’’ he said.

Kits Kafe owner Brooke Walkley said she and her husband Shane could now enjoy family time on Sunday and go to church.

Mrs Walkley said the move also gave more staff the opportunity to work one of the cafe’s busiest days.

Lockington Hotel owner Sandy Schroen said it would not affect her family-run business.

Criterion Hotel owner Adam Parker said he agreed with paying hospitality staff some penalty rates but Sunday penalty rates were too high.

‘‘They need to be fair and reasonable to everybody,’’ he said.

Because he operated a TAB he was obliged to open on Sundays and sometimes operated at a loss.

Criterion Hotel staff member Jan Windridge, who has been in the hospitality trade for 20 years, accepted the change.

‘‘We can’t afford to give that day away,’’ she said.

‘‘If you work for $100 a day or $10 you don’t have a choice, you depend on it.

‘‘You’ve got to do what pays the bills.’’

National group Restaurant and Catering chief executive John Hart said the result came after the association’s fight to change the penalty rate regime introduced through the Restaurant Industry Award in 2010.

‘‘I’m pleased to hear the decision to reduce casual loadings on Sundays from 175 per cent to 150 per cent will come into effect from July 1, 2014,’’ he said.

‘‘This will provide labour cost relief for restaurant and cafe operators currently trading on Sundays.

‘‘Businesses that are currently shut on Sundays may re-consider closingreturning convenience to Sunday diners.’’

He said the hospitality industry would save about $112 million each year.

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