Public holiday rates concern Chamber


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The Chamber is concerned about businesses open after 6.00pm on Christmas Eve having to pay employees public holiday rates. Image: Newsport.

The Douglas Chamber of Commerce has expressed concern that Queensland employers will now be required to pay their employees public holiday rates if they work past 6pm on December 24.

The part day public holiday will apply to hours worked between 6pm and midnight on Christmas Eve.

The Queensland government passed legislation late in November making the Christmas Eve public holiday effective as of 2019.

Liz Ross, president of the Douglas Chamber of Commerce, said although this does not impact all small business, it does create issues for employers of hospitality workers, accommodation providers, logistics and retail.

“With the area being predominantly tourism, many local businesses will be impacted.

“As presented in the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland (CCIQ) response to the change they stated: ‘CCIQ expresses serious concern over the lack of economic analysis undertaken to understand the net impacts of the proposal to the Queensland community’,” she said.

And although CCIQ strongly advocated to oppose the change in support of Queensland businesses, public support for the introduction of the public holiday was overwhelming.

Ms Ross said the issue was first raised by CCIQ in August when they encouraged all businesses to provide a submission to the Office of Industrial Relations (OIR).

“Unfortunately for many small businesses such as tourism and accommodation providers, room bookings would have been made prior to the government announcement of the change.

“They are therefore impacted as the government had suggested that business could make appropriate staff changes prior to the implementation of the half day public holiday,” said Ms Ross.

She said this impost will further affect business confidence at a time when confidence is already low.

“As a region, business is struggling; the net effect will be that workers will lose hours and business will have an increased cost in opening or staying open during the evening.”

Ms Ross said issues of this nature reinforce the importance of being a part of a peak body, industry association or a Chamber of Commerce.

“We can’t lobby if people are not interested in speaking up or speaking out on issues such as this.

“Change can’t happen, unless people become involved and take the time, to raise the issues, discuss the consequences and lobby our elected parliamentarians,” she said.

Ms Ross said it would be beneficial to survey local business after the holiday period to see what affect the half day public holiday had on individual businesses; and hopefully businesses will take the time to respond.

Queensland joins South Australia and the Northern Territory in implementing a part day public holiday on Christmas Eve.

It has been recommended that employers will need to consider the change when rostering employees to work on Christmas Eve and are reminded to ensure public holiday rates are applied where an employee works on any of the public holidays.

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