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Penalty rates hit local venues

Penalty rates hit local venues

An increase in public holiday penalty rates had some cafes and licensed premises across the region close for the first time due to Monday’s Australia Day holiday.

A survey by The Leader discovered in Tanunda, The Clubhouse and Red Door were closed while in Angaston, D&Ms and Blond were also closed.

The Clubhouse manager, Mr Jack Ferrett said hospitality is an important industry but felt they were being penalised for choosing to be in the sector.

“We are taking each public holiday on its merits,” said Jack.

“Providing the figures stack up, we will open.”

He indicated industry leaders are currently negotiating with the Fair Work Commission to see if anything can be done.

Among those choosing to open on Monday were The Vine Inn at Nuriootpa; the Barossa Weintal, Tanunda and the Prince of Wales and North Kapunda in Kapunda.

Barossa Weintal manager, Mr John Cowled said while the penalty rates are challenging, they addressed the issue last year and offered flexible working arrangements or otherwise to their staff.

“We are in the 24 hour, seven day a week business and people expect us to be open and we will be,” said John.

Kapunda hotelier, Peter “Puffa” Janson crunched the numbers following Monday’s trading and said the Prince of Wales was marginal and the North Kapunda did alright.

He said they put a lot of effort into adding more at the North Kapunda for Australia Day, which paid off.

“We are not going to panic… we will look at it and keep an eye on it,” said Puffa.

“We were happy with how it was and now some are confused.”

Penalty rates were implemented as part of a five year transition period by the Federal Government Fair Work Commission.

Wages do vary across the sector, however The Leader understands some staff in the hospitality industry could be earning at least $50 an hour.