APESMA members and staff have joined thousands of workers around Australia for a National Day of Action in support of penalty rates.
Penalty rates form an important part of the way many of members are remunerated, particularly pharmacists and medical scientists. These rates represent the extra loading that members receive when they work on nights, weekends and public holidays.
APESMA members in the community pharmacy sector and medical scientists frequently work outside traditional hours of work in order to provide the essential healthcare support that the community needs.
Penalty rates are an important compensation for working unsociable hours, and giving up valuable time with family and friends.
The Business Council of Australia recently renewed calls to abolish penalty rates and reduce the minimum wage. For young members of APESMA, and students who are about to enter industries that we cover, a decision to cut penalty rates would have a very real impact.
Recent studies have shown that two out of three university undergraduates live below the poverty line and regularly go without food or other essentials to make ends meet. Cutting penalty rates would also immediately rip $1billion from the economy, as consumers are forced to make tough spending choices.
Last Thursday APESMA members and reps, including President of Professional Pharmacists Australia, Geoff March and SA Branch Director, Sarah Andrews, spent the day talking to the public about the importance of penalty rates, and built a huge photo petition on social media, showing just how many people actually care about penalty rates.