The Australian Greens will move a motion in federal parliament on Thursday to ensure workers rostered on Christmas Day are paid penalty rates.


With Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on weekends this year, a major employer group has appeared before the industrial umpire to argue against public holiday penalty rates applying in 2010.

In light of this, Greens leader Bob Brown said his party would move motions in both houses of federal parliament on Thursday to ensure a common standard applied across the country on Christmas penalty rates.

“People need fair compensation for giving up time with family and friends at Christmas,” Senator Brown said in a statement.

“With just one month to go, we need to ensure people are not penalised just because they live in a state that hasn’t set up fair treatment on penalty rates.”

The Australian Industry Group told a Fair Work Australia hearing in Melbourne, on Wednesday, that with six states adopting five different approaches, there was the potential for “public holiday chaos”.

AI Group argues that penalty rates should be paid on substitute public holidays and not on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Australia Day when they fall on weekends.

The full bench of Fair Work Australia reserved its decision on Wednesday.

The Tasmanian parliament recently moved to ensure its workers received fair compensation for working on Christmas Day.

The Greens’ workplace relations spokesman Adam Bandt said it was unjust workers in some other states missed out.

With only one scheduled parliamentary sitting day left for 2010, a vote on the Greens motion is expected to be taken on Thursday.