Workers urged to check their Easter long weekend payslips

Alison Banney 18 April 2017 NEWS

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With new penalty rate cuts not in effect until 1 July, workers across Australia have been urged to check that they were paid correctly over Easter.

Australian hospitality and retail employees who worked over the Easter long weekend are being urged to check their payslips or risk being short changed.

With some confusion towards the recent changes to public holiday and Sunday penalty rates, there is a risk that employers have mistakenly paid their staff incorrectly, warns Slater and Gordon principal employment lawyer Aron Neilson.

Australia’s Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently reduced public holiday penalty rates for full-time and part-time employees in the hospitality, fast-food and retail industries, however, these changes do not come into effect until 1 July this year.

The FWC also announced changes to Sunday penalty rates, though the dates for these changes are not expected to be finalised until a hearing in May.

“This Easter long weekend is the first lot of public holidays since the Fair Work Commission announced penalty rate cuts to workers in the hospitality, fast-food, restaurant, retail and pharmacy industries, so we’re expecting some confusion among employees and employers,” said Neilson.

“Cuts to public holiday penalty rates are not due to come into effect until 1 July 2017, so it would be illegal for any employers to reduce their workers’ pay this Easter.”

“Given the different implementation dates, workers should double check that they’ve been paid correctly and if their calculations don’t match their pay slip, they should raise it with their boss," Neilson said.

There is also some confusion around which days over the four-day break were actually public holidays, as this differs between states. Check the below table to see which days are public holidays in your state.

Easter public holidays

Source: Slater and Gordon

“If Easter Saturday or Sunday are not recognised as public holidays in your state, weekend penalty rates will still apply and you should double check that you are being paid correctly,” said Neilson.

If you believe you have been paid incorrectly, Neilson says that it is important for workers to remember that they have rights.

"It can be incredibly intimidating to stand up to an employer and ask them to do the right thing, especially when it relates to money, but remember that it is a breach of the Fair Work Act for them to sack you or stop rostering you for shifts because you raised a concern about your wages.”

Read more about the FWC changes to penalty rates here.

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