BUSINESS TO FOOT BILL FOR NEW PUBLIC HOLIDAY

BUSINESS TO FOOT BILL FOR NEW PUBLIC HOLIDAY

THE Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) warns businesses will suffer from the Bligh Government’s proposed Queen’s Diamond Jubilee public holiday in June.

CCIQ president David Goodwin claims the new holiday will add at least $342 million in wage costs to employers and decrease economic productivity.

“The State Government has created a one-off $342 million liability for Queensland employers in wages paid for no productive return,” says Goodwin.

“This will impact on the viability of these businesses and ultimately create a business operating environment that is unattractive.”

The plan is part of the government’s Queensland Public Holidays reform that sees the Queen’s Birthday holiday celebrated in October, 2012 and the additional holiday created to allow June 2012 long weekend events to continue without disruption.

Tartufo Ristorante + Wine Bar owner/chef Tony Percuoco (pictured) says a new public holiday will affect his already lean bottom-line.

“A lot of restaurants close on a public holiday because it isn’t financially viable,” says Percuoco.

“It will come straight off my bottom-line. It’s just going to come down on the owners. We can’t afford to give up one more cent. It’s becoming a bit of a joke because we cannot price ourselves out of the market.”

Fortitude Valley-based Tartufo has tried to fight against Fair Work Australia’s policy to have different hourly rates for work on Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights.

“Our biggest money comes from our night trade. We do not charge more because it’s night time,” says Percuoco.

“Years ago my waiters were able to collect more than $100 in tips each night. These days it’s gone down by 60 per cent.”

CCIQ believes the Bligh Government should consider alternatives.

“Instead of an additional public holiday in 2012, a transition period should be introduced to provide a pathway for the Queen’s Birthday to be celebrated in October from 2013,” says Goodwin.

“This would provide sufficient lead way for planned events to be reviewed and changed if necessary.”

However, CCIQ warns that declaring a public holiday for actual and substitute dates, when a public holiday falls on a weekend, is not the answer.

“Duplicating holidays creates a significant additional liability for employers, effectively creating an additional public holiday for businesses that operate 7 days a week and/or over the weekends,” says Goodwin.

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