[First filed: April 13, 2009 @ 08:09]
I just finished working my duly rostered shifts over the easter weekend, having been asked to work over Easter as other staff were away for the weekend. I agreed to the shifts, to help out over a busy period, as I work in a fast-food based business and most of the young staff were on school holidays or away with family.
My first issue, is to do with 10% surcharges. My employer enforced a 10% surcharge for Good Friday, which is understandable due to the nature of the day.
I turned up to work on Saturday and was informed the 10% surcharge was in force for the entire weekend, as according to the ACT Government, the entire Easter weekend is classified as a public holiday. Maybe I’m out of touch with the times, but I was always taught that Jesus died on the Friday (hence the significance), and came back at midnight 3 days later, hence the significance of Easter Monday and Sunday in the church calendar. I always believed ‘Easter Saturday’ was a normal day. Upon further research, Saturday is now the public holiday and Easter Sunday is just the ‘normal day’.
My second and more important issue, is penalty rates over the easter weekend. I offered to cover Good Friday, expecting that as it is a significant day, and the business was charging a surcharge, that those staff who worked would receive penalty rates for missing our long weekend. To my surprise, I was advised that pay rates for the long weekend are the same as regular pay, and the 10% surcharge profit is simply going to the franchisee.
Can this activity be legal? Can making under 18s work over easter for no penalty rates be fair? Can profiting off a religious public holiday be legal? Apparently under the new(old) workchoices agreements, they can.
Has anyone else here been charged a 10% surcharge this weekend, unaware of the fact that the workers arent receiving it, but the store owners instead?
UPDATED: Well done dvaey, The Canberra Times now reports that the Workplace Ombudsman is now on the case.