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Union public holidays claims rejected

"The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) has welcomed the decision of a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in the Public Holidays Case. Ai Group played the leading role in representing employers in the case. The decision protects employers in a number of key industries from big cost increases that would have occurred if the unions' claims had been accepted," Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said today.

"The Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) was seeking an award right for full-time employees and certain part-time employees to have an alternative paid day off or an extra day's pay for each public holiday that falls on a day on which they would not have ordinarily worked. This claim, which would have cost the retail and fast food industries many millions of dollars a year, has been rejected by the Full Bench.

"The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) was seeking to create an award entitlement for employees to receive public holiday penalty rates (typically double time and a half) for work on 25 December and on any substituted Christmas Day public holiday where 25 December falls on the weekend. The AMWU's claim has been rejected by the Full Bench.

"A similar Health Services Union (HSU) claim has not yet been determined and will be the subject of further proceedings.

"Public holiday arrangements in Australia are a mess, with little national consistency and with several State Governments recently proclaiming additional public holidays and leaving employers to pick up the costly tab. It is pleasing that the Fair Work Commission has decided to reject the unions' claims in the Public Holidays Case, which would have imposed even higher costs upon employers," said Mr Willox.

FWC Public Holidays Decision

Ai Group's main submission in the case

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