The Federal ALP, Greens and Independent Senator Jacqui Lambie will introduce a Bill on Tuesday to invalidate the Fair Work Commission’s decision to reduce Sunday penalty rates for retail and hospitality workers.
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The bill aims to protect Sunday and public holiday penalty rates at their present levels and is identical to one Opposition Leader Bill Shorten introduced into the lower house of the Federal Parliament on Monday.

The bill will be introduced in the Senate on Tuesday and is expected to be debated this week. Although it is unlikely to pass through the lower house where the Coalition has the numbers, it is designed to draw out crossbenchers Nick Xenophon, Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch and test their positions on cuts to penalty rates.

Opposition employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor said Labor was giving the crossbench, including One Nation, Nick Xenophon and Derryn Hinch, “a chance to put up or shut up”.

“We know that the Turnbull government supports the devastating cuts to penalty rates but by introducing our bill to protect penalty rates in the Senate, we will also know where the crossbench sits,” he said.

“Senators Hanson, Xenophon and Hinch can’t say they support penalty rates when they’re in their electorates and not vote to protect them in Canberra.”

Greens workplace relations spokesman Adam Bandt said after “leading the charge to protect penalty rates in law, the Greens have reached agreement with the Labor Party on a bill that will stop the Fair Work Commission’s decision from coming into effect”.

“Now it’s time for Nick Xenophon, Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch to decide whether they stand for protecting wages or cutting them,” he said.

“If the conservative crossbenchers have the guts to vote with us, this bill could pass the Senate this week and the government would be under huge pressure to pass it through the house before the cuts come into effect.”

The Fair Work Commission has decided to reduce Sunday penalty rates for full-time and part-time workers in retail from 200 per cent to 150 per cent of their standard hourly rate, while casuals will go from 200 per cent to 175 per cent.

Hospitality employees will face a reduction in Sunday pay from 175 per cent to 150 per cent, while casual hospitality workers’ pay will remain unchanged.

Fast-food employees’ Sunday rates will go from 150 per cent to 125 per cent for full-time and part-time staff, and casuals will go from 200 per cent to 175 per cent.

Holiday penalty rates for full-time and part-time employees in hospitality and retail will also be slashed from 250 per cent, or “double time and a half”, to 225 per cent.

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