Students refuse to cut penalty rates for staff

Students refuse to cut penalty rates for staff

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Former Curtin Student Guild employee Carrie Millar said cutting penalty rates would increase the stress on students who work while studying.

Despite changes to penalty rates taking effect across the country on July 1, Curtin University’s Student Guild said it would not change weekend and public holiday pay for its more than 150 employees.

In February the Fair Work Commission announced Sunday and public holiday penalty rates would be reduced for hospitality and retail workers across the country.

However Curtin Student Guild president Liam O’Neill said the Guild would not apply reduced penalty rates to its retail and hospitality staff working on Sundays and public holidays.

“We believe in supporting our staff – many of who are students – because any cut in their take home wage could result in financial stress,” he said.

“We understand students who experience stress as a result of their personal finances are three times more likely to drop out than their peers who do not.”

Curtin University student Carrie Millar worked at the university’s Bookmark Cafe for four years while completing her degree.

She said penalty rates had helped her during her studies and said she believed weekend workers should be compensated for missing weekends with friends and family.

“I would have had to work during the week otherwise and that would have impacted my university workload,” she said.

From July 1 retail penalty rates across Australia dropped from 200 per cent to 150 per cent for full-time and part-time employees on Sundays and from 200 per cent to 175 per cent for casuals.

Public holiday rates dropped from 250 per cent to 225 per cent for full-time and part-timers and from up to 275 per cent to 250 per cent for casuals.

Hospitality awards dropped from 175 per cent to 150 per cent for full-time and part-time employees but did not change for casuals.

Public holiday penalty rates dropped from 250 per cent to 225 per cent for full- and part-time employees and from 275 per cent to 250 per cent for casuals.