Weekend pay report falls short for some, welcomed by others

THE Business Council of Australia says the Productivity Commission's report recommending changes to weekend pay has fallen short.

The commission recommended in its final report to workplace relations released on Monday that Sunday pay rates be brought into line with Saturday's time-and-a-half rates.

The changes would impact entertainment, retail and hospitality workers.

"The Productivity Commission's final workplace relations report has fallen short of addressing what is required in a modern economy to give workplaces the necessary agility to innovate and lift productivity - the keys to job creation and higher wages," BCA chief Jennifer Westacott said.

"The agreement making process is loaded up with too many matters which are not about wages and conditions, restricting the capacity of many businesses to respond to changing circumstances.

"In our current system enterprise agreements can require negotiation on a range of issues including recruitment and performance management procedures, rostering arrangements, job design, the provision of staffing information and conditions for implementing new technology."

But the Australian Hotels Association and Tourism Accommodation Australia have welcomed the recommendations for more flexible working arrangements, particularly involving penalty rates on Sundays and public holidays.

"Industrial relations reform is critical for Australia's transition to a services-based economy," said TAA chairman Martin Ferguson.

"We don't support abolishing penalty rates, but we do believe that 'premiums' such as excessive Sunday and public holiday penalties should be reformed.

"The way forward is for parties to be realistic.

"It's about incremental progress, not putting your head in the sand, thinking that shift penalties that were relevant in the 1930s and 1940s are still relevant."

Mr Ferguson said the recommendations of the Productivity Commission would hopefully flow through to the Fair Work Commission's review of the Hospitality Award, was expected in early 2016.


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