ACTU demands changes on holiday pay

Employers have criticised demands by unions for workers to be paid for public holidays on which they are not scheduled to work, The Australian reports.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions is asking Fair Work Australia for full-time workers who work a non Monday – Friday week to be given either an extra day’s wages or an extra day off if they are not rostered on to work on a public holiday.

“The current system is weighted against employees who work a non-standard week, which is why we have asked Fair Work Australia to change the rules about who is lucky enough to access a public holiday and who isn't,” said the ACTU president Ged Kearney.

The Australian Industry Group and others have criticised the proposal as costly an unnecessary.

“The tribunal should reject the claims outright,” Innes Willox of the Australian Industry Group told The Australian.

“This is another union idea that does not boost productivity and only serves to further drive up costs for business.”

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry was also opposed to the idea, stating that it would create more expense and no benefit for employers.

“This type of across-the-board claim adds insult to injury when SMEs have had to wear higher labour costs as a result of modern awards increasing labour costs contrary to promises made to industry by government,” explained Daniel Mammone, the ACCI director of workplace policy.

Meanwhile, the Australian Financial Review reports that the Gillard government has signalled it won’t change the current penalty rate regime for weekends and holidays.