Election to determine whether $2.87 billion flows to workers in penalty rates: new paper

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A new research paper from the McKell Institute has modelled the impact of the two major parties' penalty rate policies, finding that workers would receive $2.87 billion less in penalty rate pay under a Coalition Government than a Labor Government.

Hospitality workers would receive $837 million less, retail workers would receive $1.64 billion less, and pharmacy workers would receive $85 million less, according to the paper.

James Pawluk, Executive Director of the McKell Institute Victoria, said the new modelling showed how significant the difference in position between the major parties was this election.

"The majority of this $2.87 billion would be pumped straight back into the economy under Labor's policy, as those earning Sunday penalty rates are overwhelmingly likely to spend them locally," Mr Pawluk said.

"The primary effect of retaining lower penalty rates would be the transfer of billions of dollars from retail and hospitality workers to business owners and shareholders. There does not seem to be an economic or ethical justification for such a transfer at this time.

"The business lobby groups pushing for lower penalty rates to be retained have argued that it stimulates employment. Yet there is no compelling evidence to suggest that lowering penalty rates has affected employment in the affected sector.

"Employment growth in these sectors has been strong for a decade, but wage growth has been weak. Median full time weekly earnings in the accommodation and food services industry sits at around $850, well below the approximate median of $1,200 across all industries."

Read the full report here

 
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