AMBIVALENT ISSUE: John Flanagan believes penalty rates make staff more committed to working weekends.
AMBIVALENT ISSUE: John Flanagan believes penalty rates make staff more committed to working weekends. Tony Martin

Cafe owner sees both sides of penalty rate debate

WHEN it comes to paying his staff penalty rates, John Flanagan is conflicted.

As the owner of Oscars Cafe, he can see how not having to pay weekend penalty rates could allow him turn a higher profit, but he doubts he'll have staff committed to working the weekends.

"Penalty rates were brought around because hospitality was generally open seven days per week," he said.

"We were generally busier on a Saturday and Sunday because most other things were closed."

Mr Flanagan said today more businesses were doing seven-day trading, making cafes and restaurants a little bit quieter.

"There's the justification for not having penalty rates," he said.

"But in this sort of climate, if you start to take penalty rates away from people, I think you're going to end up losing that value in having someone want to work weekends."

The hospitality industry is once again calling for penalty rates to be quashed after being knocked back by the Fair Work Commission last month.

Mr Flanagan thinks it will probably get knocked back again.

"As a business owner I'm happy to lose (penalty rates), but I think I'd struggle to find consistent staff on the weekend."

He said for many who worked in the hospitality industry, penalty rates was what stopped them from having a big night out before working early on a Sunday morning.

"If it's the same money as a Monday or a Tuesday they may just say they're not that well and call in sick," he said.

"I've been here for 10 years now, we've always factored (penalty rates) in."

Should penalty rates for hospitality workers be cut?

This poll ended on 07 November 2013.

Current Results

Yes

36%

No

63%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.


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