Plans by the Victorian Government to increase the number of public holidays by introducing Easter Sunday and AFL Grand Eve as new public holidays will be “catastrophic for small businesses”, says Master Grocers Australia (MGA) and Liquor Retailers Australia (LRA) associations.
Jos de Bruin, CEO of MGA, said that although “the Andrews Government might argue that there are social and economic benefits for Victoria by introducing additional state public holidays, there is also a massive downside for employers”.
In Victoria, there are more than 1500 independent supermarkets and liquor stores trading under various brands including FoodWorks, Friendly Grocer, IGA, IGA Xpress, Supa IGA, Bottlemart, Cellarbrations, Duncans, and The Bottle O.
According to de Bruin, a casual adult employee working on a public holiday will receive $50.94 per hour under the retail award, totalling almost $14.00 per hour more than working on a normal Sunday.
“How can a small independent grocer or liquor store, who is already struggling with high penalty rates, carry this additional cost burden?
“This is a poor economic decision at a time when unemployment figures are increasing, productivity levels are declining and there is increasing homelessness amongst young potential casual employees.
“No small business can carry such a massive financial imposition. The government seems to be ignoring the need to grow job opportunities instead he is destroying them.
“Let’s hope that the government is realistic when it comes to making the AFL Grand Final Eve a public holiday and let’s hope that common sense will prevail.”