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2014-11-14

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Workers want compensation for unsocial hours study shows

A new study shows that more than half of employed Australians who receive additional pay for non-standard hours would stop working them if those penalties were removed, countering claims from some employers that the work patterns are a lifestyle choice.

The University of SA study was based on a study which asked employees whether they worked on Saturdays, Sundays or on weeknights after 9pm (which he defined as "unsocial hours" for the purpose of the research).

It concludes that "the choice to work unsocial hours is driven largely by the financial incentive of penalty rates".

Slightly more than 72% of those surveyed said they had worked unsocial hours at some time in the preceding year, but only 45.7% reported receiving penalty rates for those hours.

Of those who received penalty rates, 34.6% said they relied on them to meet household expenses and more than half (62.2%) said they would stop working non-standard hours if the additional pay was not offered.

The study concludes that those most at risk from the abolition of penalty rates are women, workers with combined household incomes below $30,000, and employees in rural or regional locations.

Australian employers, especially in the retail and hospitality industries, have been waging a relentless campaign against penalty rates, aided and abetted by the Abbott government. The FWC will consider claims to alter modern award penalty rates in the last stage of its current 4-year review.

Source: Workplace Express.

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