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Victorians want Christmas Day penalty pay

AAP logoAAP 7/11/2016 Angus Livingston

Victorians who work on Christmas Day won't automatically get public holiday penalty rates and the union wants the government to stop being a Grinch.

Because Christmas is on a Sunday, employers are only required to pay normal Sunday rates, with public holiday penalties instead paid to those who work on Tuesday December 27.

Public holiday penalty rates are 2.5 times normal pay, while Sunday rates vary from 1.5 to two times the normal rate.

"That's not fair to weekend workers because it's the real Christmas Day," Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Union state secretary Michael Donovan told AAP on Monday.

"I think most Victorians would be horrified at the idea that Christmas Day is not a public holiday."

Every other state and territory has declared public holidays from December 25 to 27.

Mr Donovan said it would affect 10 to 20 per cent of Victoria's work force, including transport, medical and petrol station workers.

Small Business Minister Philip Dalidakis announced the arrangements in February and a spokeswoman confirmed on Monday they would not be changing.

"The Christmas Day public holiday will remain in place and will give Victorians more quality time to spend with their families and friends," he said at the time.

Mr Dalidakis said he did a review of the arrangements for public holidays falling on weekends and decided to keep them in place, but Mr Donovan said no one was consulted.

"The unions weren't asked for their opinions, employers weren't asked for their opinions. What sort of inquiry is it if no one is consulted?" Mr Donovan said.

Victoria last year added a new public holiday for AFL Grand Final eve, and also made sure Easter Sunday was classified as a public holiday.

Opposition MP John Pesutto said the coalition would consider making a weekend Christmas Day a public holiday, but they would need to hear the arguments for it.

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