March 07, 2017

Malcolm Turnbull’s support for cutting penalty rates will disproportionately affect the take-home pay of women, widening the already excessive gender pay gap.
On International Women’s Day, Labor calls on Malcolm Turnbull to stop his attack on workers and support our legislation, which would stop unfair cuts to the take-home pay of low income workers.
Cutting penalty rates for workers in the hospitality and retail industries will have a unfair impact on low paid women, with some losing up to $77 a week.
Research by the McKell Institute shows that women will be disproportionately affected by cuts to penalty rates with women being more likely to work under an award and to work part time. 
Women make up about 55 per cent of workers in the retail and hospitality sectors.
According to the Fair Work Commission, women make up 84.8 per cent of the pharmacy sector.
Cuts to penalty rates are a step in the wrong direction, hurting women and families.
Australian women face a range of entrenched barriers to equity. As part of an upcoming nationwide gender equity consultation called ‘Setting the Agenda’, Labor will be asking Australians for feedback on the impact of penalty rate cuts on women.
We need to be doing more to close the pay gap, which has remained stagnant for the last 20 years – with women earning on average around 16 per cent less than men for doing work of equal value.
With wages growth at record lows there could not be a worse time to cut workers’ take home pay.
If “women hold up half the sky”, as Malcolm Turnbull is so fond of saying, then he should withdraw his support of cuts to penalty rates and stand with Labor to protect the take home pay of ordinary Australians.