Hospitality, clerical awards flexed to save jobs during downturn

Hospitality and clerical awards have temporary new flexibility to help save jobs during the COVID-19 downturn.

Hospitality changes

The Fair Work Commission varied the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 on 24 March 2020.

Hospitality businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak can apply more flexibility to work arrangements. The changes mean that:

  • employees may now work across different classifications and duties (as long as they’re appropriately qualified);
  • full-time employees may now work an average of 22.8 to 38 ordinary hours per week, as directed by their employer, and paid on a pro rata basis; and
  • part-time workers can work an average of between 100 per cent and 60 per cent of their guaranteed hours per week or per roster cycle;

Employers must consult employees or the relevant union before implementing these changes.

Employers may also:

  • direct employees to take annual leave with 24 hours’ notice; and
  • agree with an employee to taking twice the duration of annual leave at half the rate of pay for all or part of any period of annual leave.

An employee who is working reduced hours because of these new flexibility provisions will continue to accrue annual leave and personal leave based on their prior ordinary hours.

These changes apply from an employee’s first full pay period on or after 24 March until 30 June 2020.

Clerks award altered

The Fair Work Commission varied the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010 on 28 March 2020.

These changes are particularly helpful for businesses whose administrative staff are now working from home or need flexible hours because of caring responsibilities.

The changes mean that:

  • where necessary, an employee will perform any duties within their skill and competency, as directed by their employer, regardless of their classification;
  • part-time employees who are working from home by agreement must be rostered for a minimum of two consecutive hours on any shift;
  • casual employees who are working from home by agreement must be paid a minimum payment of two hours’ work at the appropriate rate;
  • day workers working from home by agreement may request their spread of ordinary hours of work to be between 6:00am – 11:00pm Monday to Friday, and between 7:00am – 12:30pm on Saturday;
  • an employer may agree with 75 per cent of full-time and part-time employees in a workplace or section of a workplace to temporarily reduce ordinary hours of work for a specified period with a proportional reduction in pay. However, the employer must at least 24 hours prior to proceeding with any vote:
      • notify any union where any of the employees are known to be members;
      • provide employees with contact details of the Australian Services Union (ASU) should they wish to contact the ASU for advice; and
      • provide the Fair Work Commission with any employees’ work email addresses who will be participating in the vote.
  • employers and individual employees may agree to take up to twice as much annual leave at a proportionately reduced rate for all or part of any agreed or directed period away from work; and
  • employers may require an employee to take annual leave as part of a close-down of its operations or part of its operations, by giving at least one week’s notice or shorter period of notice as agreed.

These changes to the Award apply from the first full pay period that starts on or after 28 March 2020.

Restaurant industry award altered

The Fair Work Commission varied the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 on 31 March 2020.

Restaurant businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak can apply more flexibility to work arrangements.

The changes mean that:

  • employees may now perform any duties within their skill and competency, regardless of their classification, provided the duties are safe and the employee is licensed and qualified to perform them;
    • employees directed to perform higher duties for less than two hours must be paid at the higher rate for the time worked; or
    • employees directed to perform higher duties for two or more hours of one day must be paid the higher rate for the whole day;
  • employers may direct a full-time employee to work an average of between 22.8 and 38 ordinary hours per week, and pay on a pro-rata basis;
  • employers may direct part-time workers to work an average of between 60% and 100% of their guaranteed hours per week or per roster cycle;

Prior to issuing any such direction, an employer must:

  • consult with the affected employee(s) in accordance with the consultation provisions of the award; and
  • if the affected employee(s) are members of the United Workers Union, notify the union of its intention to implement these arrangements.

Employers may also:

  • direct employees to take annual leave upon 24 hours’ notice;
  • agree with an employee to take annual leave at any time; or
  • agree with an employee to taking twice the duration of annual leave at half the rate of pay for all or part of any period of annual leave.

These changes to the Award apply from the first full pay period that starts on or after 28 March 2020.

Should you have any questions please call the Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660.

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