Public Holiday in Qld today. I was at a landscape yard first thing this morning getting served by the owner – a hard working guy who I know is doing it a bit tough. Come 8.30am his worker turns up for work – a big wave and smile as he gets ready to start for the day. Soon as he is out of earshot the boss says to me……’yeah I’d be happy too if I was on double time and a half today!’. Not in a cynical way rather just matter of fact. But that comment resonated with me all day. I know everyone will have their own views on penalty rates for bank holidays and the like. My view is that rates that are way over-blown like this are just ridiculous in this day and age – would like to see them moderated / aligned to standard weekend rates….ie a bit more than Mon-Fri rates, but 2 or 2.5 times is just outrageous for regular daytime tasks such as retail. For nurses and emergency service people doing shifts on Christmas day I guess is a bit different to retail, so I can understand a bit extra in those circumstances. I later had lunch at fast-food place where I think the regular prices were loaded by a small public holiday surcharge ….maybe 10% or so, which I thought was quite okay. But can you imagine how customers would react if prices of coffees and sandwiches were more than doubled on public holidays ? Yet that’s the sort of levy that unions think is fair enough to impose on small business employers. As we have moved towards a 24/7 economy surely we can be a smarter nation than this.