Abbott pay plan doesn't add up
Friday, 19th February, 2010
by Gina Wilson Weekend worker Tenille Nagas-Symonds will be worse off under a federal coalition plan to reduce weekend penalty rates.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said this week that he wanted to scrap weekend penalty rates if the coalition was elected this year, but promised that no worker would be worse off."There will always be a strong, enforced no-disadvantage test and no one can be moved from their existing arrangements to new arrangements unless they agree to do so," Mr Abbott told Fairfax Radio Network.
Asked if he could guarantee no worker would be worse off, Mr Abbott said: "Yep, absolutely". While the policy is yet-to-be-announced, Ms Nagas-Symonds said scrapping the weekend pay rates would put a $200 hole in her weekly pay cheque or more than $10,000 per year. The 19-year-old works as a waitress and bar attendant and said the penalty rates propped up her income.
"That's where the pay rate comes in and if they go it will make a massive difference," she said. Ms Nagas-Symonds works a minimum 35 hour week, mainly on the day shift. But she said she also worked about eight hours on Saturday and Sunday to prop up her pay cheque. "If I don't it crushes me," she said. "I have to work every weekend to get a decent pay out."
Miss Nagas-Symonds said through the week she earned $17.87 per hour but that jumped to more than $40 for Saturday and Sunday shifts. She said there was no way she could work enough shifts during the week to make up that extra $200. "No. Not at all. Not with the amount of employees there are," she said. "There's not enough work. And you can't have one person do all the work."