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Employees feel entitled to high rate for weekend and late work

PENALTY rates are greatly appreciated by bar attendant James Pritchard.

"For me, it makes a major difference because most of the work I get during the week is pretty small stuff, here and there," he said.

"The big long shifts on Saturdays and Sundays going into the night make a $200 or $300 difference for me.

"The system works for me in my personal situation and I think for most other people it does, too."


Mr Pritchard, 22, of Mooloolaba, did not buy into the argument that penalty rates made it uneconomical for businesses to open on weekends and public holidays.

"Most places, certainly retail and hospitality, do benefit from increased business over the weekend so they should be able to cover the increased wages, but you can understand not everyone is in a retail or tourism hotspot," he said.

Mr Pritchard said the issues of weekend shifts and unsocial hours were different in a regional area like the Sunshine Coast compared to a city.

He said weekend and shift workers could often continue to enjoy social lives in a 24/7 city but were more restricted on the Sunshine Coast, where some venues were closed during the week.

Hospitality worker "Rachel", 27, of Caloundra, said she would not want to work for a flat rate and felt penalty rates were justifiable, particularly for late-night shifts when personal security could be an issue.

She had no doubts that some businesses found penalties a struggle and hence did not pay them, but said "staff should be paid what they deserve".

A Maroochydore food services worker, "Bobbi", said her workplace had recently introduced a higher base rate of pay in exchange for reduced weekend penalty rates.

Bobbi, who works during the week, says the new arrangement benefits her, but young employees who work Saturdays and Sundays are disadvantaged.

But Bobbi said there would always be people willing to work without penalty rates at all.

"There is a lot of people out there that are willing to work for whatever they can get," she said.


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