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What about meal breaks and public holidays for workers?

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MEDIA RELEASE Wednesday, 27 July, 2005


The Federal Government’s proposed Minimum Standard says nothing about meal breaks and public holidays.

This means the average Australian worker not covered by an award is not guaranteed they will be paid if they take public holidays such as Christmas Day, Good Friday and Anzac Day.

I think workers and their families will be surprised and shocked to learn the Government intends to remove the guarantee that these workers will be paid on public holidays.

Also, under the Government’s proposals, workers on agreements or contracts may not be guaranteed meal breaks - even a lunch break.

Workers will not accept the idea that lunch breaks may not be guaranteed.

There is also nothing to stop employers requiring workers on agreements or contracts to work seven days a week without getting penalty rates or overtime.

The average Australian won’t accept the idea that people could be required to work seven days a week and not get a meal break or work lengthy periods of overtime without being paid penalty rates. And they won’t accept not being guaranteed pay for taking a public holiday.

Millions of Australian workers are currently on agreements which contain these conditions. Under the changes, workers will not be guaranteed these conditions as they will not be required in agreements or contracts.

These changes undermine family life and confirm my view that ‘family friendly’ policies aren’t really family friendly at all. Rather, they are market friendly.

These are issues I will be taking up with the Federal Government on behalf of Australian workers and their families. For media enquiries phone Chief of Staff Felicity Dargan on 0409 550 446