Enshrining Public Holidays To Protect Your Penalty Rates

27 September 2018

A re-elected Andrews Labor Government will enshrine public holidays – Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and Grand Final Friday – in law, helping to protect the penalty rates of thousands of Victorian workers.

While these days are currently gazetted by the Andrews Labor Government as public holidays year after year, writing them into law will make sure they are permanently protected.

When penalty rates were first introduced, Sundays were treated the same as public holidays, attracting the same rates and benefits for workers. But now – thanks to the slow wind back of penalty rates under successive Liberal Governments – Victorians working on Easter Sunday miss out on increased rates of pay.

The same occurs when Christmas Day falls on a weekend, with the current legislation only providing for public holiday rates on a substitute day during the week.

It means that when Christmas Day falls on a Saturday, Victorians – like nurses and emergency workers – don’t get public holiday rates – but their colleagues working on the substitute Monday do.

It’s just unfair. And it’s why a re-elected Labor Government will permanently protect the public holiday penalty rates of Victorian workers, introducing legislation in its very first year.

In contrast – and ever since Jeff Kennett axed the Show Day public holiday in 1994 – the Liberals’ track record on public holidays and penalty rates couldn’t be clearer.

No matter who their leader is, the Federal Liberal Government has made a concerted effort to undermine Victorians’ working conditions, overseeing the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut Sunday and public holiday rates for retail, hospitality and accommodation workers.

The Victorian Liberals share the very same contempt for the rights of working people, with their Deputy Leader David Hodgett last year admitting, “I support the Federal Government’s changes to penalty rates…”.

Matthew Guy has already indicated his feelings on the Grand Final Friday public holiday, in 2015 saying “I think it’s pretty clear that a Coalition Government would find it very difficult to keep it”.

Unlike the Liberals, Labor backs Grand Final Friday. Not just for footy fans, it’s a chance for Victorians to spend time with family and friends, and a big boost for businesses and tourism operators across our state. For those workers who can’t spend the day with loved ones, this legislation will protect it as a public holiday in law.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“Days like Christmas are a time to be spent with the people you love. But if you have to work, your pay should recognise that sacrifice.”

“We’ll enshrine these public holidays in law, so that the penalty rates of Victorians are permanently protected.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins

“The Liberals’ track-record on public holidays and penalty rates couldn’t be clearer. Only Labor will stand up for the rights of hardworking Victorians.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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