Member Resources


Monday, 13 November 2017

The Federal Court has upheld the Fair Work Commission’s decision in February reducing weekend penalty rates for employees under the Hospitality, Restaurant, Fast Food, Retail and Pharmacy awards.

In February the FWC announced cuts in Sunday and public holiday penalty rates ranging from 200 per cent down to 150 per cent for full and part-time retail employees to 150 per cent down to 125 per cent for full and part-time fast-food employees.

The public holiday cuts came into effect on July 1 this year. The Sunday penalty rate cuts are being introduced over several years.

United Voice and the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees trade unions appealed the decision.

The Federal Court found the commission met its legal obligations when it handed down its decision to cut Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for full-time and part-time workers, effectively upholding the FWC decision.

Details of the new rates which in some cases applied from July 2017 can be found at the links below.

In handing down the judgement, Federal Court Judge Mordy Bromberg said the court's role was restricted to determining whether the commission had made an administrative error. "The Fair Work Commission alone was vested with the responsibility for assessing all relevant matters and reaching all the conclusions necessary to decide whether or not to make the determinations that it did," he said.

"The court may not enter into the merits of the determinations made by the Fair Work Commission.

"In the view of the court, the Fair Work Commission's decision read as a whole reveals no jurisdictional error."


Further information

Fair Work Commission: Penalty rates and allowances

Federal Court: Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association v The Australian Industry Group

ABC: Penalty rates: Unions lose court appeal against cuts to public holiday, Sunday pay

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