Government agrees to pay higher Christmas Day penalty rates for SA public sector workers

Public sector workers, including nurses, doctors, and police, who are rostered on and work on Christmas Day will be paid higher penalty rates.

All South Australian public sector workers, including nurses, doctors, police and corrections officers, who are rostered on and work on Christmas Day will be paid higher penalty rates of at least 200 per cent under the Marshall Liberal Government.

Treasurer Rob Lucas said the Government recognised the ‘hard work and additional sacrifice’ of those public sector workers required to work and rostered on Saturday, December 25 while many other South Australians were spending the day at home with family and friends.

“The Government, through South Australian taxpayers, will be paying higher penalty rates of at least 200 per cent (double time) on Christmas Day for our public sector workers, including those on the front-line such as nurses, doctors, police and corrections officers,” said Mr Lucas.

“We recognise their hard work and additional sacrifice on this important day of the year, many of whom will be away from their own families in order to keep the rest of the community safe.”

“It’s been an enormously challenging year for many South Australians, especially for those public sector workers in front-line essential service roles and the Government is pleased – through the taxpayer – to pay additional penalty rates on this particular day.”

On a regular Saturday, workers are entitled to 150 per cent – or time-and-a-half – penalty rates. And because Christmas Day this year falls on a Saturday, the ordinary Saturday penalty applies, with public holiday penalties payable on Monday when the public holiday is actually observed.

However, nurses will be paid 250 per cent on Christmas Day (Saturday, December 25) and 200 per cent on the declared Monday public holiday (December 27), as a result of a ‘reverse arrangement’ agreed to by the ANMF and included in their award.

Correctional services officers and other public sector staff will be paid a 200 per cent penalty on Christmas Day, as will police who have this entitlement under their existing award. 

“The last thing small businesses need, particularly those in tourism and hospitality, after more than 18 months of COVID, is to be hit with having to pay 250 per cent penalty rates for 4-and-a-half days in a row over Christmas.

“The reality is, that this added cost burden would have meant some businesses, including restaurants and cafes, would have simply chosen not to open at all, robbing young workers of shifts.

“This is why Master Grocers Australia Independent Retailers, which represent Drakes, Foodland and IGA supermarkets, as well as the Restaurant and Catering Association and the Australian Hotels Association were also opposed to any change to the existing arrangements.”

To find out more about the laws passed by the lower house to make Christmas Day a public holiday read here.

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