Common good refers to the situation in which the benefits are bestowed upon all the members of the society. It works on the principle of cooperation instead of profit making and competition. However, in this fast growing economy, global issues arise due to the conflict of self-interests and common good. Sometimes, the business organizations focus upon profit maximization more that the betterment of their employees and the society.
Various reports have suggested the global issue of of Penalty rates on Sundays and holidays to workers This issue has reflected the fact that there is absence of shared responsibility in achieving the common good. Reports have shown that a majority of full-time as well as part time employees in Australia are paid below the basic wage level that accounts to 23.1%. This indicates that the average income of full-time as well as part time employees in Australia lesser than the average income. Women are mostly employed in feminized organizations that pay lesser wages and offer part-time employment (O’Reilly et al. 2015). This has exacerbated the gap in the income. This inequality among the men and women leads to lower productivity growth of the labors and fails to achieve the common goal. The underpayment of the wages of the men and women leads to social injustice as the benefits are not equally shared in the society.
Various other issues have also been noticed regarding the conflict of interests among the organizations and their employees. One such example is of the case in which a florist at the shop was blamed for having paid lesser wages to a teenager employee and was entitled to pay back $18,000 to the teenager (Theaustralian.com.au 2017). Such reports of exploitation of workers especially women and young workers have been a global issue since ages. All these issues need to be addressed carefully in order to achieve the common good along with shared responsibilities.
The payment of lower wages due to penalty rates on Sundays and holidays to workers has adversely affected the productivity. It has been found that a reduction of 10% as penalty cuts has the capacity to increase the productivity up to 3%. However, eliminating the existing inequality in the wages of men and women in Australia can improve the labor productivity up to 5.7% (James 2017). Proper pay allows the individuals to maximize their working efficiency (The Conversation, 2017). Equality of wages shall also help the companies to attract and retain efficient employees. Another major issue is occupational segregation that is required to be solved in order to reduce the impact of penalty cuts.
The government must encourage the individuals to work in socially and economically higher value jobs by applying penalty rate cuts on Sundays and holidays. This could be easily achieved by fixing a minimum wage pay for the workers working on Sundays and holidays. The companies must be encouraged to make the wages and salaries of the individuals sufficient to lead a standard life in order to achieve common good (Brooker 2017).
Implementation of pay transparency shall also be very useful in ensuring that the workers are being paid a fair amount and the burden of penalty rate does not fall on them. Pay transparency shall enable the individuals to be aware about the earnings of their colleagues. This shall help them to know whether they are paid lesser than their colleagues or not. This shall also encourage the workers to increase their productivity as their earning shall depend upon their productivity and not upon the penalty rate. The reduction in pay would no longer consider whether it has been reduced due to the burden of excess penalty rate. Instead, the employees who work more shall earn more. This would ensure that the more deserving employee earns more irrespective of the penalty. This would ultimately result in increase in the overall productivity of the organizations.
Another way is reducing penalty rate by negotiation. It has been observed that men perform negotiations better than the women as the women often tend to avoid negotiation by accepting the initial offer given by the employers. Many women have also expressed their fear of negotiating as they feel that they will not be liked in case they try to negotiate for higher salary. Therefore, both men and women must negotiate in case they are paid less on the holidays and Sundays. This must be applied while hiring the entry level employees (Barry 2016).
Although, the above strategies might solve some problems but these would not be able to solve all the issues faced by the individuals at workplace. The other issues needed to be solved are the exploitation of the workers and ensuring that the advantages of the penalty rate cut reach the poor workers.
The minimum wages for the employees must be raised especially on Sundays and holidays so that they are able to earn sound living wages. The minimum wages of the employees must be increased especially for the tipped workers. It has been found that two-third of the tipped workers are women. Tipped workers have a high poverty rate than the salaried workers. Therefore, raising the minimum tipped wages shall be very effective in raising the standard of living of the women (Pekarek and Gahan 2016).
Providing greater flexibility in the working schedule must be provided to the working individuals especially on Sundays and holidays. The people who are usually engaged in low wages jobs that have unpredictable schedules suffer the burden of penalty rates. This results in an increase in the risk of losing jobs as the workers are unable to show flexibility in their work. Therefore, it becomes very important for the employers of the workers working on holidays to provide them flexible working schedule without jeopardizing the job of the workers (Blau and Kahn 2016).
The government must also ensure that the advantages of reduction in the penalty rate reaches the employees especially those who work at low wages jobs . It has been noticed that the women suffer more when it comes to lower wages. This often creates dissatisfaction among the working women and they are unable to deliver their best for the growth of the company. Therefore, the employers must also be encouraged to help the working women by providing them satisfactory wages.
A legislation related to the minimum wages to be paid on holidays and Sundays must be passed. The penalty rate becomes a burden on the employees especially the low income workers which comprises mostly of women workers (Mandel and Semyonov 2014). Therefore, payment of optimum wages to the employees shall ensure achievement of the common good by providing the minimum standard of living to the employees (Davies, McNabb and Whitfield 2015).
Therefore, it can be concluded that providing equal opportunities to the individuals by reducing the penalty rates on holidays and Sundays shall help in reducing the exploitation of workers. The various strategies mentioned above can be very useful in achieving the common good with the help of shared responsibilities. It is the responsibility of the companies as well as the government to ensure that the individuals are provided with a standard wage pay in order to ensure that the benefits are received by the entire society without any discrimination on any grounds.
Barry, M., 2016. Employer and employer association matters in Australia in 2015. Journal of Industrial Relations, p.0022185616634092..
Blau, F.D., 2016. Gender, inequality, and wages. OUP Catalogue. Blau, F.D., 2016. Gender, inequality, and wages. OUP Catalogue.
Brooker, C., 2017. Heading to the bush. AJP: The Australian Journal of Pharmacy, 98(1161), p.3.
Davies, R., McNabb, R. and Whitfield, K., 2015. Do high-performance work practices exacerbate or mitigate the gender pay gap?. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 39(2), pp.537-564.
James, D., 2017. Penalty rate cuts are the result of thinking small. Eureka Street, 27(4), p.12.
Mandel, H. and Semyonov, M., 2014. Gender pay gap and employment sector: Sources of earnings disparities in the United States, 1970–2010. Demography, 51(5), pp.1597-1618.
O’Reilly, J., Smith, M., Deakin, S. and Burchell, B., 2015. Equal Pay as a Moving Target: International perspectives on forty-years of addressing the gender pay gap.
Pekarek, A. and Gahan, P., 2016. Unions and collective bargaining in Australia in 2015. Journal of Industrial Relations, p.0022185616636104.
The Conversation. (2017). The gender pay gap is hurting productivity. [online] Available at: https://theconversation.com/the-gender-pay-gap-is-hurting-productivity-76780 [Accessed 15 May 2017].
Theaustralian.com.au. (2017). Victorian workers underpaid thousands. [online] Available at: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/cashinhand-worker-underpaid-115k-in-vic/news-story/c3ee836340d0b03601d8d6a2de68c0bc [Accessed 15 May 2017].
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