VICTORIAN RETAILERS BRACE FOR PENALTY RATE STRAIN
19 August 2015,
SMALL business owners in Victoria are preparing to feel the penalty rate pinch, after the government approved two extra public holidays for the state.
The introduction of Grand Final Friday and Easter Sunday pushes Victoria's public holiday tally to 13 the most of any state.
Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman says the news comes at a high cost to businesses, as it means paying high penalty rates if they choose to open.
"Many Victorian retailers have indicated to the ARA that they will have no choice but to close their doors on these two days," Zimmerman says.
"Wages can be 50 per cent higher on Easter Sunday and 150 per cent higher on Grand Final Eve. Retailers face the difficult choice between remaining open and paying incredibly high penalty rates, or closing and losing sales or production."
Grand Final Friday and the iconic annual parade boosts visitor spending in the Melbourne CBD, with less consumers expected in the city during a public holiday.
"Grand Final Friday will have the greatest impact on the profitability of CBD retailers, as workers will not be in the city before AFL Grand Final, diminishing what has traditionally been a peak business period in the Victorian events calendar," Zimmerman says.
"There will be no wages transfer through higher penalty rates being paid or the traditional net benefit from tourism during AFL Friday as workers and businesses abandon Melbourne CBD to stay at home."
The ARA and Fair Work Australia are reviewing the General Retail Industry Award 2010, in a bid to reduce costs for retailers who trade on Sundays and public holidays.