as a child of the 1960s, very few people actually worked on a Sunday, Trading hours were generally 0900 to 1730 Monday to Friday, and 0900 to 1200 Saturdays. Cinemas were closed on Sunday mornings, and the only shop open outside of these hours were the corner Milk Bar and some Cafes.
Restricted trading Hours means that small business owners, Milk Bars excepted, had time of for rest, recreation and the family. It also meant Retail Price Maintenance, which meant that the cost of an item was generally the same in Sydney, Albury, Ballarat and Melbourne, and you had a variety of stores from which you could buy said item, so customer service, and/or a unique range, were genuine selling points.
I do not recall that anyone ran out of food due to restricted hours of trading ! Milk Bars were allowed extended Trading Hours to ensure that Milk, Eggs and Bread were always available.
Extended Trading Hours has resulted in the closure of a lot of small family businesses, primarily due to the bigger businesses usually having enough staff available to ensure extended trading at a marginal cost to them, but to a small family business, it becomes extremely difficult to compete with that.
One of the unintended results of the abolition of Retail Price Maintenance is that big businesses get their supplies at a significant discount that a small business cannot possibly access, so much so, that it is not unknown for small businesses selfing drinks and sweets to buy it from a Big supermarket chain at a price significantly lower than the manufacturer/supplier will sell to them.
It was also an era when most employees / workers were on Awards, which generally were expressed as a 5 1/2 day working week, hence the reason for Public Holidays being paid, as most employees had a Public Holiday not at work. The minority of people who were required to work on a Public Holiday therefore got paid a Supplement for working on a Public Holiday, or got a Days Pay if they were rostered off.
Likewise persons working after midday ( this is a generalisation ) Saturday, or on a Sunday, also received a Supplement for doing so, as did anyone working outside of the normal 9 to 5.
We are now in a situation when many more people are working outside these former normal working hours, and many employers no longer see a need ( they have always had the desire ! ) to pay any sort of Supplement/Penalty for people working outside of these former normal working hours.
From my perspective, paying a Supplement/Penalty to people working outside of former normal working hours is both reasonable and fair. The argument for an Aggregate Wage rate to cover an "average" pay rate based on the last 12 months Average Weekly Earnings has, to my mind, two major problems, one being that last years average does not necessarily mean this years average, there is a tendency for the employer, for reasons of flexibility, requiring more out of normal hours working to be required, and two, it usually also means a significant increase in weekend working. In both instances, the previous average is no longer applicable, and in effect, it results in an effective wage cut. I accept that there are some instances where this may not be true, and I am also aware of some workers on Aggregate Wage arrangements who are more than happy with it, even so, I suspect that it is a system which, over time, has created an effective real wage cut.
A related issue is the "Living Wage" which in practice meant that a worker ( inevitably a male ) basic wage would support a wife and three children. If the woman worked she got paid about 1/2 to 2/3 of the male Wage Rate. This was supposedly abolished by the "Equal Pay for Equal Work" judgement of 1969, and the Anti discrimination legislation of 1984. ( George Orwell ! )
Where women actually work in designated Award based jobs, they do get equal pay ( eg Ambulance crews , Train Drivers etc ). Where women work on contract in office type work that is not covered by a specific Award those women are still, and will remain, being paid a lesser rate than their male colleagues doing similar work, and that is because the employer knows that their contracts are deliberately designed to achieve that outcome, and this is done by defining the contract work in such a way that the woman will get paid at a lower rate. ( There may be exceptions to this, but they are exceptions, the norm is to pay women less. )
The other effect of women allegedly achieving equal pay is that the living wage to support three children now takes two adults ( mum and dad ) to achieve. There is a simple reason for this , Basic Economics of Increased Supply effectively halving the real wage per head of employee.
In the last week or so, SBS had a programme on Iceland and Equality, wherein both mothers and fathers receive ( usually at different times ) have three months maternity / paternity leave , and business do not hold 5pm meeting because their employees need to collect the children from day care or school. Fathers are expected to have a more hands on role with child rearing, and stay at home dads are not that unusual any more. Iceland is also dealing with an increase in reporting of Domestic violence.
The other item of note, SBS News I think, was a firm ( software developer ? ) in Footscray who does a 4 day work week, Mon,Tue,Thu,Fri,closed Wed, claim to have a significant increase in both productivity and profit, despite lesser hours actually worked. This may well work for some businesses. A four days out of 7 days for shift work 24/7 days operation might be a bit more difficult to achieve, but worth a look.
For your consideration,