The penalty rate change has seen retail workers across the country worse off. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP
The penalty rate change has seen retail workers across the country worse off. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP

Aussie teen’s dramatic Woolies pay cut

An outraged dad has gone viral after revealing his teenage daughter's pay had been slashed from $160 to $135.

The girl, who works at Woolworths, just received a payslip following her first Sunday shift under the newly reduced penalty rates, which came into effect on July 1.

It means that she is now $25 worse off for her eight-hour Sunday shift.

The father went on to explain his daughter had been working at the store since she was 15 and was responsible for opening and closing the deli "on her own".

"She has more responsibility than every other person in the deli bar the manager," he said, adding she "does the exact same job as adults working alongside her. In fact she does a better job".

The change means employees under the retail award have had their Sunday penalty rates cut from a 165 per cent loading to a 150 per cent, while Sunday shift work rates have dropped from 190 per cent to 175 per cent.

While the concerned father is clearly upset at the situation, he directed his criticism towards the government which introduced the change, and not his daughter's employer.

A dad's tweet about his daughter's penalty rate pay cut has gone viral. Picture: Twitter
A dad's tweet about his daughter's penalty rate pay cut has gone viral. Picture: Twitter

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A Woolworths spokesman confirmed the Fair Work Commission had changed Sunday penalty loadings in the General Retail Industry Award from 65 per cent to 50 per cent per hour from July 1, 2020.

"The rates of pay in our Enterprise Agreement, which was voted up by our team and approved by the Fair Work Commission in 2019, mirror those provided under the Award," the spokesman said.

"This is standard practice across the retail industry."

The post attracted thousands of likes, retweets and comments, and while some argued it was still a reasonable wage for a young person even after the cut, others slammed the decision to disadvantage low income earners.

"Given the discussion about what is Australian behaviour or not during this crisis, how 'Australian' is stealing money from the lowest paid in order to increase your profits? In the current version of Oz, I'd have to say, 'Very,'" one person tweeted, while another said there "seems to be a lack of appreciation of the cost of living in 2020 for a young, almost-adult age person - who needs to prepare/to live independently".

"Why do we allow them to do this bulls**t every time? They lie that cutting wages entitlements for workers will create more jobs … when we know it's simply to increase profits … The LNP is only for the 1 per cent and what they can rort," another posted.

The penalty rate cut was a hot topic during last year's federal election, with Labor vowing to reverse the cuts within 100 days of assuming office if Bill Shorten won.

But it was not to be, and a campaign by the retail workers' union to delay the introduction of the cuts was also unsuccessful.

The Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) also launched a petition calling for pay rises for retail workers to be introduced now.

The SDA said it was "not fair" that the Fair Work Commission had recently handed down decisions that meant pay rises for retail workers were delayed until February 1, 2021 while Sunday pay cuts got the green light.

"Frontline retail workers have been fronting up to work throughout the pandemic. They have dealt with panic buying and poor customer behaviour," the petition states.

"They have packed and repacked the shelves and processed record sales through the tills for essential retailers. They deserve a fair go and a pay rise.

"Essential retailers should share the increased sales with their frontline workers now. They should pass on a pay rise and protect Sunday pay rates."




Originally published as Aussie teen's dramatic Woolies pay cut