Workers in retail, fast food, hospitality and pharmacy in Northern and North-West Tasmania could be more than $290 worse off this Easter due to cuts in penalty rates, Labor said.
Labor Bass MHR Ross Hart and Labor Braddon MHR Justine Keay called on the Liberal candidates in their electorates to answer the question: if elected, would they vote to restore penalty rates?
Labor leader Bill Shorten announced on Friday the Labor party would restore penalty rates within 100 days if elected on May 18.
"This election is a choice between Labor's plan to restore penalty rates or bigger tax loopholes at the top end of town under the Liberals," Mr Hart and Ms Keay said.
Mr Hart said in the 10 day period starting from Good Friday, Tasmanian workers who rely on penalty rates would see cuts up to the following amounts:
- Fast food: $163.66
- Hospitality: $189.34
- Retail: $219.33
- Pharmacy: $292.98
- Restaurant: $135.24
"Even bigger cuts to Sunday penalty rates will occur this July, and the July after that unless a Shorten Labor Government is elected," Mr Hart said.
Ms Keay said the Morrison Government had eight opportunities in parliament to protect penalty rates and they voted against them every time.
"Labor understands that penalty rates are not a luxury. For many families on the North-West and West Coast they are what pays the bills and puts food on the table," Ms Keay said.
"It says everything you need to know about the Liberals when they're willing to see workers' wages be cut, but giving millionaires at the top end of town an $11,000 a year tax cut."
Tasmanian Liberal senator Richard Colbeck said the Liberal party understood how the issue of penalty rates impacted low-paid Tasmanian workers.
"It's important that we understand the impact of these decisions," Senator Colbeck said.
"Many businesses decide to close their doors on public holidays because they just can't afford to open.
"Unions think that they should just take the profits that they've made from the other parts of the week and spend them on days when they aren't making a dollar - that's not how business works. Business needs to make a profit."
Senator Colbeck said businesses and workers were both worse off if shops were unable to open at all on holidays or weekends.
Bass Liberal candidate Bridget Archer said, from her experiences working as a casual in the hospitality and retail industries, there needs to be a balance between supporting workers and also ensuring there was a business open to work in.