Penalty rates and fair pay

Ms HUTCHINS (Minister for Local Government) — I rise to talk about the young workers in my electorate of Sydenham that will be highly impacted by the transitional arrangements in relation to the recent cuts to penalty rates for workers in restaurants, cafes, bars and the retail sector. They will effectively have their Sunday penalty rates cut by 5 per cent this year and 10 per cent in both 2018 and 2019. Many will also see their public holiday pay cut effective immediately from the next public holiday that they face. This comes as a huge blow to many of our lowest paid workers, who are already feeling the pinch of record low wages growth.

A recent report commissioned and released by the Young Workers Centre at Victorian Trades Hall Council found that young people begin their working lives with a poor understanding of their rights at work and their entitlements in the workplace. Unfortunately wage violations are rife across the state and in many, many industries for young people. Large numbers of young people work weekends and are not being paid properly and in some cases are not even obtaining the right information about their rights at work. Wage theft is a low-risk business decision for some small employers, and of course we have seen similar stories emerge from the select committee on penalty rates and fair pay that has been undertaken by this Parliament.