No penalty rates paid at KFC but workers no worse off

Fast food giant KFC believes its workers are not disadvantaged despite a workplace agreement that doesn’t provide for penalty rates.

And that’s because workers are offered a higher base rate.

However at a Senate committee hearing in Melbourne on Thursday, Senator Nick Xenophon had a different view of the agreement.

“It’s impossible for a KFC worker who works nights and weekends to not be worse off, as there are no penalty rates,” he said.

The South Australian senator is part of the Education and Employment References Committee examining proposed changes to penalty rates amid union fears workers will be left out of pocket.

KFC spokesman Robert Phipps defended the company’s approach which he said allows flexibility and fairness for workers.

“We haven’t paid penalty rates in a very long time … coming up to about eight years we haven’t paid Sunday penalty rates,” he said.

It means that no matter what day of the week workers are able to do their shifts, all get the same remuneration, he added.

The company has an enterprise agreement with the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association in place where workers are paid a nine per cent loading on top of the base rate.

KFC is one of several large employers giving evidence to the committee.

The inquiry aims to find out if large companies benefit by employing workers on an enterprise agreement that has lower penalty rates on weekends and public holidays than those set by the standard award.