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Australia: Retail workers' union pushes for public holiday pay rates on Easter Sunday in SA

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The SDA says Easter retail workers receive the same pay as they would on any other Sunday. (ABC News) © Provided by ABC NEWS The SDA says Easter retail workers receive the same pay as they would on any other Sunday. (ABC News)

The South Australian government says it is open to formally designating Easter Sunday a public holiday, to ensure workers are paid penalty rates, after coming under union pressure to introduce reform.

The retail workers' union today issued the call, saying more than 100,000 employees are not currently entitled to public holiday pay because Easter Sunday is considered a regular working day.

"It's not just workers in our retail sector, it's workers right across our essential services who are going to work today and not earning anything more than a usual Sunday," Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (SDA) secretary Josh Peak said.

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"The state government should fix this and make sure that Easter Sunday is declared a public holiday from 2023."

Several other states — including Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria — have all made similar moves in recent years.

Retail worker and union compliance officer Bente Rasmussen today spoke alongside Mr Peak in favour of the union's proposal.

"For those who are working today, they deserve to be properly compensated," she said.

The SDA is also pushing for broader changes to the Holidays Act to ensure Christmas Day staff receive penalty rates, regardless of the day of the week — a proposal already agreed to by the government, prior to the March election.

"In Opposition, Labor committed to amending the Public Holidays Act to fix the anomaly whereby Christmas Day was not a public holiday if it fell on a Saturday," Premier Peter Malinauskas said in a statement.

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Mr Malinauskas — a former state secretary of the SDA — said the government would now consider the matter of Easter Sunday pay rates.

"As part of this, the government will be open to submissions regarding the case for and against declaring Easter Sunday a public holiday," he said.


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