Australian's Defend Weekend Rates

Paramedic Defends Penalty RatesAre penalty rates an endangered species? That was the topic of this morning's Life Matters program on ABC Radio National. You can listen to the program here.

The answer from callers from across the country was loud and clear: penalty rates are vital and should stay.

Callers told host Natasha Mitchell about the role of penalty rates in their lives and of the financial burden to them if they were taken away. For many staying in their jobs would not be an option.

A recurring subject was the cost of shiftwork to workers, their families and their communities. The last caller said penalty rates help to keep families together - "the family that plays together, stays together."

Louise Tarrant, National Secretary of United Voice, a guest on the program said this is too big a debate to leave to a handful of academics and politicians."

It isn't just workers who support penalty rates. Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive of Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, said getting rid of penalty rates would be "very detrimental", adding that they help to compensate parents for extra childcare costs of working shift work.

You can listen to the Life Matters program again here: http://ab.co/1jjb5Yn

The overwhelming support for penalty rates continued in the Life Matters online comments section and the RN Life Matters facebook page.

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