The Short run impact of penalty rate cuts on employment outcomes in Retail and Hospitality sectors in Australia

Martin O'Brien*, Raymond Markey, Eduardo Pol

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


The issue of weekend penalty rates has been a contentious political issue in recent times. In its recent review of Modern Awards, the Fair Work Commission determined a reduction in Sunday penalty rates, arguing that this would result in increased employment and hours in Retail and Hospitality sectors. In this paper, we present a critique of the evidence before the Commission relating to employment creation. We also present survey findings of workers' employment before and after the penalty rate reform. In the short run we find that there was no discernible positive impact on affected workers' employment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-286
Number of pages17
JournalEconomic Papers
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018



  • Fair Work Commission
  • Hospitality Industry
  • Labour Regulations
  • Penalty Rates
  • Retail Industry

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