Sweet! Say staff at Albury lolly shop as owner Tara Zuber decides to keep full penalty rates

SWEET: To the happiness of employees, Tara Zuber, owner of Albury's Joy's De'Lights will keep paying penalty rates as is despite changes due in July. Picture: MARK JESSER
SWEET: To the happiness of employees, Tara Zuber, owner of Albury's Joy's De'Lights will keep paying penalty rates as is despite changes due in July. Picture: MARK JESSER

Working in a lolly shop has just got sweeter for Joy’s De’Lights employees, with boss Tara Zuber to keep paying full penalty rates despite the Fair Work Commission's decision to reduce them.

From July 1, full-time and part-time retail workers will have their Sunday penalty rates dropped from 200 per cent to 150 per cent of their standard hourly rate and casuals will go from 200 per cent to 175 per cent.

Similar cuts are due for hospitality and fast food employees.

The changes will not come into effect at Ms Zuber’s Dean Street shop, though.

“There was no way I was even going to consider not paying full penalty rates to my staff,” she said.

“Thinking of myself if I were an employee, that would be a huge loss.

“A lot of businesses are seeing it as a huge win as they will be saving money.

“For me, it’s more so about making my staff happy.”

Albury Northside Chamber of Commerce business manager Kathie Heyman said many businesses were choosing to keep full rates.

Tara at her shop opening at the City Walk store.

Tara at her shop opening at the City Walk store.

“It’s a great thing for the Border because it shows how much of a tight-knit community we are,” she said.

“We support any businesses who decide to still pay their staff the same rate and any businesses that choose to take the 25 per cent discount.”

Ms Heyman hoped owners who had wage costs reduced would take it as a chance to hire.

“We have high youth unemployment, so if there is any opportunity to put more young people on … I see that as a positive,” she said.

“It depends on how many staff you employ – if you have a very large team, there is a huge difference on the bottom line with wages.

“But for small businesses working with one to five staff, it’s about quality of employment versus cost … really good service people are rare, so you’re happy to keep them around.”

Abby French, who worked for Joy’s De’Lights throughout last year, said the penalty rates allowed her to travel when she wouldn’t otherwise have been able to.

“I worked on a Sunday for quite a long time and it did help having that bit extra,” she said.

Ms Zuber said her three casual staff had all been pleasantly surprised to know their wages wouldn’t be reduced.

“I could imagine a lot of mums would rely on it; I have younger girls working for me who aren’t mums yet, but they still are using it for university, to buy a house or travel,” she said.

“Sunday is such a family day and I hate working Sundays – not many people like it.

“If I didn’t pay them that extra, they wouldn’t want to work Sundays.”

Ms Zuber said there had been positive feedback from customers and the community could show their support by buying local to fill their chocolate stocks this Easter.

“For a lot of people, it’s more about convenience and sometimes price rather than supporting the smaller guys,” she said.

This story Penalty joy tips the scales first appeared on The Border Mail.

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