Penalty rates are the reason people get time off on public holidays

Posted April 21, 2014 by Together Queensland

The union of public sector workers says if penalty rates did not exist public holidays such as Easter Monday would be the same as every other day of the year and everybody would be at work.

Together Secretary Alex Scott said today, “Without penalty rates everyone would be at work this Easter Monday, if we lost our penalty rates, public holidays like today would vanish and our highly prized weekends would be a thing of the past.

“Without penalty rates, there would be no reason that employers could not force employees to attend work on a public holiday – tearing them away from their family, friends, religious observances, or just a well-earned break on a weekend.

“We value and look forward to our public holidays and it is our penalty rates that make these days possible, otherwise these days would be just like any other week day.

“Our public holidays and weekends are part of our Australian way of life, it’s about people actually having a life, having time to value life outside of the work environment.

“Thanks to penalty rates we have precious time to spend with those who are important to us, to enjoy kicking the footy around, firing up a barbeque in a local park or getting chores done at home.

“Penalty rates are about people giving up their time away from their families to do their jobs and in many instances these people are looking after the public, working in the caring professions.

“Many workers rely on penalty rates when they are working unsocial hours, so they can keep a roof over their heads, put food on their tables and pay bills.

“They work unsociable hours, away from friends and loved ones, so that they can afford a decent standard of living.

“More than 1.5 million Australian workers are earning penalty rates.

“As a society, we value our leisure time, which has steadily decreased even as our technology has progressed.

“As workers, we are entitled to our own lives and our own time.

“Our employers can’t simply force us to drop everything and work during times that our society agrees should be set aside for rest, recreation, cultural and religious celebrations, or public activities like Anzac Day.

“Penalty rates are the extra money workers get for attending the workplace when everyone else is kicking back and offline, not wishing to work and must be retained.

“Penalty rates are an essential part of life for workers across Queensland, not some abstract notion.

“Anyone who supports family values, who supports individuals having the power to manage their own time and enjoy their lives, must support penalty rates for employees.”


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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