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Paying the penalty

By Ian Nance - posted Tuesday, 20 May 2014


Penalty is what this post is about; the penalty for living in modern times, and attempting to enjoy their many services.

I'm talking of the custom, habit, convention, the relatively unchallenged practice of penalty rates of pay for work done on a Saturday or Sunday, particularly in the food and hospitality industries.

Why do these penalties exist?

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Are they some form of punishment upon businesses for daring to trade on days when the 'norm' dictates that people should have the day off?

Once again, why?

Why are these two days held to be the ritual times when people should not be obliged to work?

Perhaps years ago in traditionally formalistic eras, it became conventional to work from Monday to Friday (possibly Saturday as well) then have the next day off. Society was structured and planned around the five or six day working week, and rigid religious beliefs dictated observance of Sunday as some form of revered observance of imposed values. Early Australia suffered the conformist social authoritarian prohibition against working on Sunday.

Although these colonial rituals are still with us the old demarcation between employers and workers has eroded steadily as more people take control of their income destiny and operate their own business.

Life and living, seasons, supply, demand, don't adhere to a weekly calendar. Events occur when they will, and it is up the society to respond to these.

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I was fortunate (?) to spend a lifetime in the media news and entertainment industry which is a seven-days-a-week business.

Beginning with my earlier days, I could never see the logic for salary loadings for work done on weekends; to me, it was perfectly normal to supply a service when huge numbers of people demanded it, and to do it as part of the job I had chosen as a career.

Now that I am "retired", I operate a small contracting business which supplements my income, but still needs work to be done exactly when it is needed, not when somebody else says that I may do so.

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About the Author

Ian Nance's media career began in radio drama production and news. He took up TV direction of news/current affairs, thence freelance television and film producing, directing and writing. He operated a program and commercial production company, later moving into advertising and marketing.

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