Chemist Warehouse's announcement that it won't cut Sunday penalty rates for existing employees has received muted acclaim from the union representing pharmacists, Professionals Australia, which accuses the company of having "sold out" its future workforce.
The Fair Work Commission has ruled today the contentious decision to cut Sunday penalty rates will be phased-in over four financial years in the retail and pharmacy sectors and over three financial years in hospitality and fast food.
The AHA, AAA and Pharmacy Guild have withdrawn their proposals to change the term "penalty rates" to "additional remuneration", ahead of a further hearing tomorrow on the weekend and public holidays penalty rates case.
Business groups have told the FWC that it is prohibited from varying or revoking its decision to cut Sunday and public holiday penalty rates and have slammed United Voice over its call for the case to be immediately concluded so that it can launch a judicial review.
As the FWC calls for submissions on an employer bid to ditch the term "penalty rates" and replace it with "additional remuneration", a senior union-clientele lawyer is warning of a "slippery slope" if recognition of a need to compensate those working unsociable hours is removed.
The FWC has asked the Turnbull Government to clarify whether it intends to amend the Fair Work Act to enable the tribunal to make take home pay orders to potentially mitigate hardship flowing from its decision to cut hospitality and retail workers' penalty rates, and is seeking further submissions on transitional arrangements.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has belatedly confirmed his support for the Fair Work Commission's decision to cut Sunday penalty rates, representing his position as consistent with the Liberals' "backing" of small business.