• Sunday penalty rates ahve been cut by the Fair Work Commission. (AAP)Source: AAP
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students will be hit hard by changes to Sunday penalty rates, warns Indigenous student support worker.
Rachael Hocking

23 Feb 2017 - 4:01 PM  UPDATED 23 Feb 2017 - 4:01 PM

The Fair Work Commission's long-awaited ruling today to cut Sunday penalty rates from double-time down to time and a half for workers. 

The decision applies to those working in retail, hospitality or fast-food industries, something which Monash University's Indigenous Officer, Bryda Nichols, said will unfairly affect students who are already doing it tough.

“I think it’s really shameful. It’s going to affect people from low socio-economic backgrounds, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” she said.

“We don’t have very high levels of university attendance, and it’s going to be really hard for students who have to support themselves to stay at university.”

Full and part-time workers will now only be paid a rate of 150 per cent – while casuals will receive a rate of 175 percent instead of the previously paid double time rate.

The decison comes in the wake of a productivity Commission report last year, which claimed that double time rates on Sundays where making it harder for the unemployed to find work and out of step with the times.

The decision will also affect Ms Nichols’ family in Tasmania, where her single mum relies on her Sunday wages to support her young children.

“This decision means that my family won’t have much disposable income, everything will go towards paying for rent, paying for food,” she said.

“I worry about my siblings a lot. It’s hard, but I guess they will have to make do.”

Ms Nichols’ saidf she is prepared to fight the changes.

“There was already a strike action in Melbourne today, and I’ll be at the next one,” she said.