The Fair Work Commission has approved changes to the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 to provide greater flexibility in working arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These changes provide relief from some of the more restrictive provisions of the award with respect to hours of work and annual leave for the period from 31 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. The objectives are to help businesses through this difficult period and to maintain jobs.

The key changes are:

  1. An employee’s full-time or part-time hours can be adjusted at the direction of the employer to between 60% and 100% of their normal ordinary working hours over the course of a week or over the course of a roster cycle (eg for a full-time employee, that is anywhere from 22.8 to 38 ordinary hours per week)
  2. Before making that direction, the employer must consult employees in line with award provisions on consultation related to changes in hours of work and, if the employee is a member of United Voice, consult United Voice as the employee’s representative union.
  3. An employer and an employee may agree to the employee taking twice as much annual leave at half the rate of pay for all or part of any period of annual leave.
  4. an employer may, subject to considering an employees’ personal circumstances, direct the employee to take annual leave with 24 hours’ notice.

While any arrangement under this clause is operating, an employee continues to accrue entitlements (paid leave and termination entitlements) on the basis of their pre-existing employment contract and normal hours of work. An employee would also be entitled to a payment for any public holiday that they would have been entitled to under their pre-existing employment arrangement.

See Schedule I at the very end of the Award