The Federal Court has announced its decision regarding United Voice and the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association application to overturn the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) decision to reduce the penalty rates for full time, part time and some casual roles in the hospitality, retail and fast food industries.

The Fair Work Commission, when making the decision on the reduction to penalty rates for some Modern Awards, looked at all the evidence over a two-year period, held 39 days of hearings, received almost 6,000 submissions, and experts, unions and employers and came to the decision which had then been debated in the Federal Court.

In its decision, the Federal Court has found that the Fair Work Commission had met its legal obligations and advised the court’s role was restricted and could only determine whether the FWC had made an administrative error. It could not make any judgement on the merits or impacts of the FWC decision, made earlier this year.

The penalty rate cuts under the Awards will be phased in over a number of years; over four years for retail and pharmacy employees and over three years for hospitality and fast food workers.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has released a simple tool to help employers and their employees assess what this decision means for them, which you can access here: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/penalty-rates-and-allowances/penalty-rates-changes-2017

Contact our office on 1300 766 380 to discuss how this may impact your business.

Full details of the decision can be found here: http://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/full/2017/2017fcafc0161