Hungry Jacks owner Jack Cowin has described Sunday penalty rates as a thing of the past unsuited to contemporary lifestyles.

The fast-food billionaire yesterday said the focus should be on keeping wages as high as possible for all workers, regardless of when they worked.

The Fair Work Commission in February ordered that Sunday and public holiday penalty rates be cut for fast-food, hospitality, retail and pharmacy workers from July.

“Penalty rates are somewhat a product of the past,” Mr Cowin told Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA function in Perth. “We live in a seven-day-a-week lifestyle today.

“Maybe we shouldn’t have football on Sundays. I think society has changed and we have to somehow adapt with it.”

He said wage levels in Australia in the fast-food industry were the highest in the world.

The reality is, people can work this out.

“If you’re a person that you work Sundays and you’re going to make less money because they’ve brought that back, obviously you’re not going to be happy about it.

“But the real big picture is how do we keep wage levels as high as we can but how do we try to have a common wage for everyone rather than depending on what the day of the week you’re going to work.”

While Mr Cowin acknowledged workers had kids and sport to juggle on weekends “the reality is, people can work this out”.

In addition to Hungry Jacks, the businessman holds a 26 per cent stake in Domino’s Pizza Enterprises. He sold most of WA’s KFC stores to Collins Foods in 2013.

He joked that when he opened his first KFC restaurant in Perth in 1969, he had to sack his wife because she wanted employees to be able to sit on stools and take longer breaks.