Liberal candidate for the seat of Dunkley Chris Crewther once advocated that businesses move to a “flexible penalty rates” model, which would remove weekend penalty rates. In a document prepared by the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s small business taskforce last year, of which Crewther was a part, it is recommended that businesses be able to move to a model where penalty rates are only paid if a person works more than five days in a week.

“As an alternative, introduce flexible weekend penalty rates, whereby current penalty rates paid on Saturdays and Sundays would instead be paid on any sixth or seventh day of the week worked by an employee. This change recognises the fact that we live in a more flexible society where the preferred days of rest are no longer necessarily Saturday or Sunday. This change would retain current penalty rates and continue to provide a weekend guarantee for each employee (as an employer would have to pay penalty rates to an employee who works six or seven days per week),while giving businesses the flexibility to structure their employment arrangements such that they can open on Saturdays and Sundays without incurring penalty rates.”

Crewther is one of 12 authors on the report, but he claims it as his own idea on his LinkedIn page. Penalty rates are one of the major issues being pushed by the unions, who are targeting the seat formerly held by Bruce Billson. Crikey contacted Crewther to ask about his views on penalty rates, but didn’t hear back by deadline.

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