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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Proper pay for Christmas-New Year workers this year

    Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Proper pay for Christmas-New Year workers this year

    Workers forced to be away from their families on Christmas Day this year will receive the penalty rates they deserve, thanks to law changes to be introduced into Parliament this week.

    Industrial Relations Minister Cameron Dick said the minor change would bring major benefits for the small number of people who have to work on Christmas Day.

    “This change finally puts right a situation that has been wrong for some time,” Mr Dick said.

    “The only person likely to object to workers being paid their proper entitlements on Christmas Day would be Ebenezer Scrooge himself.”

    Under the Holidays Amendment Bill 2010, which will be introduced to Parliament today, people who work on Christmas Day this year and New Year’s Day 2011 will be entitled to receive penalty rates.

    In adopting this position, the Queensland Government will ensure that Queensland workers will be treated the same as their counterparts in New South Wales and Western Australia in relation to Christmas Day, and NSW, WA and Victoria in relation to New Year’s Day 2011.

    “On previous occasions, when Christmas Day and New Year’s Day have fallen on a Saturday, the public holidays have been transferred to the following week, giving most workers consecutive long weekends,” Mr Dick said.

    “But for those occupations that have to work over the Christmas-New Year period, it means that they are not entitled to penalty rates for the inconvenience of being separated from their families, particularly on Christmas Day.

    “Making this situation even more inequitable is the fact that the occupations most affected are those that either protect the community or make the holiday period more convenient and enjoyable for the rest of us.

    “This includes many health workers, fire fighters and ambulance officers, who sacrifice so much of their family lives for their communities.

    “That is why the government has decided to change the law to allow Christmas Day 2010 and New Year’s Day 2011 to be designated as public holidays as well.

    “These changes will also benefit the hotel and hospitality workers who work at numerous Christmas Day functions throughout the state, the bus and train drivers who provide public transport, the staff at fast-food outlets, and even workers at suburban medical centres.

    “The government has made this decision after workers and unions outlined to the government how the existing arrangements disadvantage many people.”

    Mr Dick said the decision would have virtually no impact on most Monday-to-Friday workers and businesses.

    “We acknowledge that there will be some cost to those businesses that open on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day but we believe that this inconvenience is far outweighed by the benefits it will bring for workers,” he said.

    “We are announcing the proposed change now to give any affected businesses the chance to prepare for the change.

    “But for those people directly affected, this decision will have significant benefits and remove an inequitable situation.”

    Media contact:
    Office of the Attorney-General and Industrial Relations Minister 3239 3487