International students are worried that penalty rates cuts – slashing the amount they can earn at the weekend – will hit them harder than domestic students.
The Fair Work Commission recommends cutting the standard rate for full-time and part-time staff working in the hospitality, fast food, restaurant, retail and pharmacy industry on Sundays and public holidays, which it believes will lead to increased hours of work as employers would be able to afford more workers
But international students, who can only work a maximum of 20 hours of week, may suffer under the change. Many international students have concentrated on working at the weekend for higher wages per hour. They will not be able to make up their wages by working more hours during the week because they are capped at just 20 hours.
Stephanie, for instance, an international student who works part-timer in the hospitality industry said: “It is such a disadvantage for people who normally work on weekends. Your salary is going to get reduced and you will still be asked to work extra.
“The main reason was because as an international student we would normally occupy our weekends to either review our studies or rest. Me personally, I have to support my own financial state so I had to sacrifice my weekends as well as public holidays to work in order to get extra pay.”
“It obviously will decrease my income and but there’s not much I can do really.”
Hany was an international student who is now on a temporary residence visa and currently working in a fast-food restaurant in Melbourne.
“I have been working part-time ever since I was an international student here in Melbourne. That time my parents were the one who paid my bills and everything, but now, ever since I have a full-time job, I’m the one who pays my expenses. It is unfortunate that the penalty rates will be cut, this means that I will have to spend the same energy and get paid less.”
The aim of the new regulation was to create more jobs for people with less skills by lowering the cost of employees on Sundays and public holidays, making it easier for employers to hire more workers.
Just like any other issues, there has been pros and cons regarding this matter.
Most employers are most likely to agree on the policy as they will reduce the company’s spending and focus on more on the business’ profit.
On the other hand, workers that are only available on weekends and public holidays are likely to disagree with the policy because they are the ones who could feel the direct impact.
The changes of the public holiday penalty rates will be effective from 1 July 2017.