A prominent Brisbane man about town and long-time QEW reader has reminded me that last year I posted on the ridiculous Christmas Eve half-day public holiday, and he said that it was particularly costly in this year of COVID. Here’s a great note he sent me which I’m grateful he’s given me permission to publish:
Gene, this is an old post on Christmas Eve penalty rates, but worth revisiting.
In a Covid year when small business and marginalised workers (casuals, part timers, students, etc) have had it rough, it appears that a poor policy decision has kicked an own goal for Queenslanders.
2020 Christmas Eve activity in South East Queensland was DEAD, especially from mid afternoon onwards. Retailers, restaurants and hospitality venues all appeared very quiet. It looks like they closed early, rather than pay huge penalty rates on what used to be a big retail and hospitality evening. Imagine what activity and employment has been missed because of this poor policy decision?
This high wage structure pushes shoppers further into the arms of online retailers, making it harder for our students and part timers to find local work.
It is to be hoped that the retail peak bodies get this data and use it as evidence that the extra public holiday declaration has backfired on the Queensland community.
It would also be great for union leaders to hear from these marginal workers who missed out on work and much needed income. It might help arrest the decline in private sector union membership if their voice was heard.
Given Queensland’s parlous employment situation, we need every opportunity available to grow our economy and create jobs.
I fully agree with my long-time reader’s excellent remarks.
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