Published on Jun 20, 2017

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Penalty Rates Changing Soon

In February, the Fair Work Commission ruled that hospitality, fast food, retail, registered and pharmacy workers would have their Sunday and Public Holiday penalty rates cut. The Fair Work Commission has now released how the new rates will be introduced.



The commission has decided to implement the cuts over a slower transition period of 3-4 years. The full extent of the penalty rate cuts will not be felt by some businesses until 1 July 2020.

Starting from 1 July, 2017 – the first of the Sunday award loading changes will begin to roll out as follows:

  • Retail Award:
    • full time and part time employees –200% to 195%
    • casual employees – 200% to 195%
  • Hospitality:
    • full time and part time employees – 175% to 170%
    • casual employees – no change
  • Pharmacy:
    • full time and part time employees –200% to 195%
    • Casual Employees – 225% to 220%
  • Fast Food:
    • full time and part time employees –150% to 145%
    • casual employees – 175% to 170%


From 1 July 2017, changes to public holiday rates for employees in the following awards will apply:

Source: Fair Work Commission.


From 1 July 2017, businesses can begin implementing new Sunday rates according to the award changes, or can choose to continue to pay their existing loadings. It is encouraged that employers check their current employee contracts to ensure they do not overwrite the award rates of pay.


It is appropriate that businesses are meeting their award obligations as well as new minimum wage obligations by the due date.


For more information on the changes, please visit the Fair Work Commission to review the penalty rates transitional arrangements decision.