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Cut in Sunday penalties worth $359 million yearly: report

Nurses, midwives and aged-care workers stand to lose more than $359 million a year if Sunday penalty rates are reduced to Saturday levels, a new report commissioned by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation has found.

The McKell Institute report, The Importance of Penalty Rates for Our Health Workforce, details the impact of cutting penalty rates on nurses, midwives, carers and local economies. It found RNs in public hospitals would lose $1921 a year in wages if their Sunday penalty pay were reduced to Saturday rates.

ANMF acting federal secretary Annie Butler said the findings were a dire prediction about the “flow-on impacts” to nurses, midwives and carers should the Turnbull Government implement the Productivity Commission's recommendations to reduce penalty rates.

“The PC has already targeted hospitality and retail workers and the report warns that reducing penalty rates in one sector will affect other industries, with a particular threat to health, where the constant increase in demand is leading to rising costs and the need for cost savings," Butler said.

She added that Australia wouldn't be able to attract and retain qualified nurses if the government dramatically reduces their wages by cutting penalty rates.

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