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Fast food industry penalty rates decision is a victory for common sense

"The Australian Industry Group welcomes today's Fair Work Commission (FWC) Penalty Rates Decision. The Commission has accepted Ai Group's evidence and arguments to re-set penalty rates in the fast food industry to better align them with the characteristics and needs of 21st century workplaces," Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said.

"Ai Group represented the fast food industry in the case. A great deal of evidence was presented from Ai Group members, McDonald's and Hungry Jacks, and from relevant experts.

"A very high proportion of employees in the fast food industry are young people who have study commitments during normal business hours. The Commission accepted Ai Group's evidence that young people often prefer to work in the evenings and on weekends, and that many prefer to work on Sundays rather than Saturdays.

"In the fast food industry, weekends and evenings are peak times. Regular business hours have little relevance to businesses in the fast food industry and, therefore, penalty rates that were designed many decades ago around regular business hours need to be re-set.

"In the Decision, the Commission has recognised that existing Sunday penalty rates in the fast food industry are not fair for employers and no longer relevant.

"The new penalty rates will be phased in over at least two years to reduce the impact upon employees.

"The five-Member Full Bench, headed by FWC President, Justice Iain Ross, made their decision on penalty rates in the fast food industry after a case which continued for over two years. The Full Bench carefully weighed up all the arguments and evidence and arrived at a fair and sensible outcome.

"What is important now is that the decision by the independent umpire is implemented as soon as possible, and that all parties accept the outcome," Mr Willox said.

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