What are penalty rates? 

Penalty rates are an additional amount of money paid when you work at particular times. If you work: 

  • On the weekend 
  • On public holidays 
  • Late night shifts 
  • Early morning shifts 

You should be paid penalty rates. The extra percentage that you are paid per hour worked will depend your industry and when you worked.

You should be paid penalty rates on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. You should also be paid an extra 25% on top of the non-casual wage if you are a casual employee. 

From 1 July 2019, the following penalty rates apply for fast food, retail, hospitality and restaurant industry workers.

Fast Food Industry Award

If you are covered by the Fast Food Industry Award, your penalty rates will be:

If you are not a casual employee

  • Saturday: 125%
  • Sunday: 125%
  • Public Holiday: 225%

If you are a casual employee

  • Saturday: 150%
  • Sunday: 150%
  • Public Holiday: 250%

General Retail Industry Award

If you are covered by the General Retail Industry Award, your penalty rates will be:

If you are not a casual employee

  • Saturday: 125%
  • Sunday: 165% (15% cut)
  • Public Holiday: 225%

If you are a casual employee

  • Saturday: 140%
  • Sunday: 175% (10% cut)
  • Public Holiday: 250%

Hospitality Industry Award

If you are covered by the Hospitality Industry Award, your penalty rates will be:

If you are not a casual employee

  • Saturday: 125%
  • Sunday: 150% 
  • Public Holiday: 225%

If you are a casual employee

  • Saturday: 150%
  • Sunday: 175%
  • Public Holiday: 250%

Restaurant Industry Award

If you are covered by the Restaurant Industry Award, your penalty rates will be:

If you are not a casual employee

  • Saturday: 125%
  • Sunday: 150%
  • Public Holiday: 225%

If you are a casual employee

  • Saturday: 150%
  • Sunday: 150%
  • Public Holiday: 250%

To check the specific amount you should be paid for working any of these shifts, check your Award or Enterprise Agreement.  

Scenario 

Lena works as a casual food and beverage attendant in a café on the weekends. She checks her pay slip and sees that she is being paid the minimum wage plus a 25% casual loading on Saturdays, and an extra $5 on Sundays and Public Holidays.  

This is not okay. Lena is receiving the proper casual loading, but is not receiving the right penalty rates for working on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. Lena is covered by the Hospitality Award, which states that casuals must be paid at 175% of the minimum hourly pay rate on Sundays. On Public Holidays, casuals must be paid at 250% of the minimum hourly pay rate.  

What do I do if I think I am not being paid properly? 

To check if you are being paid properly, you can check your pay slip. Your pay slip should clearly state the amount you are being paid, and list any casual loadings or penalties you are receiving. 

If you think you are not being paid properly, get in touch with us. We can give you advice about what you are entitled to, and help you decide what to do. We can also direct you to other people who can help.  

To find out more about how to join your union, visit http://www.unionsact.org.au/joinyourunion/ or have a look at our fact sheet here.

Authorised M Harrison for UnionsACT, 11 London Circuit, Canberra ACT 2601.

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