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Cup overfloweth for staff as BentSpoke keeps penalty rates intact

Lachlan Roberts 19 July 2019 40

BentSpoke owners Richard Watkins and Tracy Morgan have decided not to enforce the penalty rates cut. Photo: Supplied

Hospitality staff were filled with a sense of dread as 1 July approached, with news that their Sunday penalty rates were set to be cut yet again. But for the 35 hospitality staff working at Braddon BentSpoke Brewing Co, it was business as usual.

The Braddon pub has decided to keep existing penalty rates for their staff despite the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut Sunday penalty rates for workers under the hospitality award.

Hospitality workers on full and part-time contracts are being hauled back down to 150 per cent loading for Sundays and public holidays but it was up to individual businesses to choose to enforce the cuts.

The decision will affect the back pocket of co-owner Richard Watkins and Tracy Morgan, but Mr Watkins said the decision was an easy one.

“We didn’t do it last year as well because we feel that we rely on our staff to work during penalty rate situations all the time,” he said. “We think that it is important that our staff get paid what they should be paid.

“Hospitality staff are not normally the highest-paid people going around so to taking away that extra penalty rate is something we don’t agree with. We are open every single day of the year besides Christmas Day and we are always open on public holidays so we rely on staff being able to work.

“We are happy to pay the extra wage.”

Despite the 52 Sundays and 13 public holidays each year in Canberra, Mr Watkins said he wanted to give his staff an incentive to come to work every day and to love what they do.

“We want our staff to want to come to work and to be able to enjoy their life outside of work,” he said. “So a little bit of extra money from us not reducing our penalty rates will go along to support our staff.

“If they are giving up their time on Sundays and public holidays to come to work, they need to be compensated properly. We don’t want to end up not having enough staff to work public holidays and Sundays.

“We have a good group of staff here at BentSpoke and we feel like we offer really good customer service so we want to show that we support our staff as well.”

Mr Watkins said the smiles and the quiet thank you’s from the staff was enough reward for the duo.

“We have had staff come up to us to thank us for recognising the hard work that they do on holidays and Sundays,” he said. “It is a really good feeling when the staff thank you for what you are doing.”

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40 Responses to
Cup overfloweth for staff as BentSpoke keeps penalty rates intact
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3:45 pm 23 Jul 19

Employer of choice stuff.

chewy14 11:52 am 23 Jul 19

This move actually just proves why you didn’t need government mandated penalty rates in the first place.

If a business struggles to get workers for certain shifts or wants to keep good workers around and available, they have to pay them more.

Well done Bentspoke on showing why the mandated penalty rates were not needed.

7:07 pm 22 Jul 19

Yay, I will continue to enjoy them 😊👍🍾🎶

11:47 am 22 Jul 19

Can u run for PM !!!

Maya123 11:23 am 21 Jul 19

The best thing for a fare employer to do, would be cut the penalty rates, but use the ‘saved’ money to pay all the workers more money. People who do the week shift have to live too. Why are only those who get the weekend shifts as part of their days working so special? Why is Sunday more special than say Tuesday? Most people don’t go to church any more. Cut the weekend rates and spread the money among all the workers; increase the basic rate. Much farer.

    chewy14 11:54 am 23 Jul 19


    And you’ll find that in a lot of instances, those shifts attracting penalty rates are even more attractive than weekdays to groups like students because they fit in better with their other commitments.

Lucy Baker 9:38 am 21 Jul 19

Any business making a good profit has the option of paying above award, and many do.

8:38 am 21 Jul 19

The carers who works in aged care they deserved every cent all nurses amen and the cooks and domestic staff

8:16 am 21 Jul 19

Good on you Bentspoke.

4:20 pm 20 Jul 19

Good morale = good workers! More business owners need to realise this fact.

1:46 pm 20 Jul 19

The right decision. Bravo.

1:00 pm 20 Jul 19

Great stuff, excellent example

11:26 am 20 Jul 19

Wondered why people are so up in arms over cuts to penalty rates. Employers can still pay them at those rates if they choose.

    7:49 am 21 Jul 19

    They are up in arms because their pay is cut ... no wonder they are up in arms.

    7:55 am 21 Jul 19

    The employers can keep paying them the same. They don’t have to drop the rate they are paying their employees.

    It’s just a minimum, you can pay more.

    Be cranky at the employer.

11:17 am 20 Jul 19

Your a good man.

7:47 am 20 Jul 19

Great beer, great people 👍

7:41 am 20 Jul 19

No wonder your premises are full. Good karma and happy staff.😍

7:19 am 20 Jul 19

Staff working unusual hours deserve every cent of their loading! Happy staff do good work. Because of your ethics your products are now gifts for interstate rellies and all are delighted to receive.

11:51 pm 19 Jul 19

Can do that when you charge 128 bucks a carton of tins!! (Last time I saw at Jim Murphy's)

9:54 pm 19 Jul 19

Thats the way its should be but if govt legislate a high wage all it does it shut down business and create less jobs.

    10:08 pm 19 Jul 19

    Shaun Hazell mate if you run a business that is reliant on low wages, you need a better business

    10:37 pm 19 Jul 19

    Every place in the world that has high min wages shows higher unemployment especially for younger people.

    10:52 pm 19 Jul 19

    Left wing Canberra wouldn't have a clue. How are cafes with Husband and Wife working on Sundays, how can they afford to employ some one with massive loadings. The choice is keep the rates the same as Saturdays and more shops will be open on Sundays its not rocket science.

    12:12 am 20 Jul 19

    Shaun Hazell Australia has increasing lower and lower wages and conditions, and WHERE ARE the alleged increased jobs resulting from this???

    Oh wait that’s right, they don’t exist.

    12:17 am 20 Jul 19

    So tired of apologists for wage slavery talking about “high wages costs jobs”.

    How about “high rents of real estate costs jobs”


    “The interest on my bank loan I took out to fit out my business costs jobs”

    Where’s the arguments for decreasing rents, interest payments, ALL the other many and varied costs of running a business???

    Nah mate let’s just talk about cutting wages because that’s easy

    6:51 am 20 Jul 19

    Shaun Hazell yet you support the fat cats giving themselves pay rises. Or old farts getting money for doing nothing from franking credits. You have no idea what it’s like to live off wages and be told your getting less.

    6:52 am 20 Jul 19

    Shaun Hazell what about the big businesses? It’s not left wing to expect ppl to earn a decent wage.

    6:53 am 20 Jul 19

    Stu Cook or to go to business school.

    12:23 pm 20 Jul 19

    Shaun Hazell Get a better business. If you don’t pay penalty rates, I don’t buy from you. Simple as that.

    And yes... I ask first.

    And if any business retains pricing and doesn’t pay penalty rates... sorry... my money stays in my pocket.

9:50 pm 19 Jul 19

Wonderful work BentSpoke Brewing Co.

9:47 pm 19 Jul 19

Great job BentSpoke Brewing Co. It’s hard enough running a small biz in Canberra as it is, so it’s refreshing to see the value you place on your staff!

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