The following is a media statement published by the MGA on Wednesday
Employers today had a massive win in the Sunday Penalty Rates case with the Federal Court finding in favour of employers. Jos de Bruin, the CEO of Master Grocers Australia (MGA), said that, “The decision by the Federal Court has proven that employers were justified in their claim to reduce Sunday penalty rates. In its decision the Federal Court stated that in hearing any matter the Fair Work Commission is charged with the responsibility of considering all the relevant evidence and reaching the appropriate conclusion. The Federal Court found that the Fair Work Commission had carefully considered all the arguments that had been placed before it and the Federal Court was not able to ‘enter into the merits of the determinations made by the Fair Work Commission’.”
Mr. de Bruin continued that, “MGA, together with a number of other industry associations, had engaged Stuart Wood QC and his team to defend this application for the retail sector. At the hearing Counsel had stressed that the FWC made the correct decision, it had acted within its jurisdiction and that, in its decision the FWC was balancing the interests of employees and employers.”
“The new penalty rates have already been introduced into the modern award and will reduce gradually over the next few years to 50% on Sunday. We have never advocated not providing some compensation for employees working on Sunday. By reducing the Sunday penalty our retailers have gained an opportunity to employ more staff, have some time for themselves and also keep the business viable. Many employers simply could not afford to continue paying high penalty rates and previously employing extra staff was too expensive and therefore economically difficult. This favourable decision is going to help small businesses to grow and, despite what some critics claim, the decision will definitely assist in employment growth and productivity, because without this opportunity employers simply could not afford to give jobs to those who want them”.
“MGA applauds the decision of the Federal Court and thanks all those who worked so hard to claim this favourable outcome. Employers have finally been vindicated and they can move forward in their businesses with greater confidence. At last the playing field is being levelled and employers and employees can share the positive results that will inevitably emanate from this fair and equitable decision.”