How millions of Aussie workers could see $1,000 wiped from their pay packets next summer

How millions of Aussie workers could see $1,000 wiped from their pay packets next summer

  • New laws being considered by parliament could slash workers pay packets 
  • Labor minister Tony Burke said penalty rates for public holidays could be cut 
  • New laws would force employees to accept worse workplace agreements 

Some of Australia’s most coronavirus exposed jobs – nurses, cleaners and waiters – could be paid $1000 less next summer if public holiday penalty rates are cut under new laws. 

Labor’s industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke on Thursday released a new analysis of 10 of Australia’s most common workplace awards, using the government’s fair pay calculator.

The analysis weighed up how much some types of workers could lose over the summer period if penalty rates for Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Australia Day were scrapped. 

Health workers could see their pay packets slashed under new government laws (pictured: a woman conducts a coronavirus test at Bondi drive-through clinic)

Health workers could see their pay packets slashed under new government laws (pictured: a woman conducts a coronavirus test at Bondi drive-through clinic) 

Mine workers could also be affected under the new rules which would allow companies to cut public holiday rates (stock image)

Mine workers could also be affected under the new rules which would allow companies to cut public holiday rates (stock image) 

The Coalition government is considering changes to workplace laws which would enable the Fair Work Commission to factor in coronavirus impacts on businesses when approving new agreements that are worse conditions for employees. 

The enterprise bargaining law changes would allow the approval of deals that fail the ‘better off overall test’, or BOOT, if both employers and employees agree and they could only last for two years. 

Mr Burke said the analysis showed workers over the summer break could lose between $840 and $1170 from their pay packets if public holiday penalty rates are scrapped under the BOOT changes.

A typical aged care worker could lose $270 each day, adding up to $1080 over the month.

A level two cleaner could lose $263 a day, totalling $1052.

A level five registered nurse could lose $890 over the four public holidays days after copping a $223 a day pay cut.

The laws which have already been introduced to parliament would allow businesses to slap employees with worse contracts (pictured: a waitress is seen at a Sydney cafe in January)

The laws which have already been introduced to parliament would allow businesses to slap employees with worse contracts (pictured: a waitress is seen at a Sydney cafe in January) 

Labor industrial relations spokesperson Tony Burke said the laws were "bad for workers and the economy" (pictured: a cleaner in Sydney in 2020)

Labor industrial relations spokesperson Tony Burke said the laws were ‘bad for workers and the economy’ (pictured: a cleaner in Sydney in 2020)  

Mr Burke said it was possible workers could also lose their weekend, early morning and late night shift penalties under the changes.

‘This pay cut is Scott Morrison’s thanks to the people who got us through the pandemic – the frontline and essential workers who put themselves at risk by showing up to work and steering Australia through the crisis,’ Mr Burke said.

‘Pay cuts are bad for workers and bad for the economy. For Australia to recover from the recession we need people with the money and confidence to spend.’ 

The analysis’ calculations were based on the difference between the base and public holiday pay rates of typical award workers who work standard eight hour days across all four summer public holidays.

The draft laws were introduced to parliament in December and are expected to take some months to pass after scrutiny by MPs. 

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