The federal government will continue to support penalty rates for weekend and public holiday work.
Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten today confirmed the government will oppose axing or reducing penalties in modern industrial awards.
Fair Work Australia is in the process of reviewing penalty rates and public holiday provisions in several modern awards as part of a two-year assessment.
"Often the people who work these less family friendly hours are among the lowest paid," Mr Shorten said in a statement.
"Penalty rates comprise an important proportion of their salaries."
Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said penalty rates reflected a community cost for those employees who worked on weekends.
They should be properly compensated for missing out on time with their families.
"They are not at the sporting events their kids are involved with, they are not spending time at home with their family," Mr Bradbury told reporters in Canberra.
"It is not unreasonable to think that there should be some compensation paid to employees for giving up time on weekends and hours outside the normal working day."
Some employers say they might have to shut their doors if penalty rates are retained.
But Mr Bradbury said there was not much "evidence" that was the case.
"There are plenty of businesses out there that would not have to pay penalty rates," he said.