On 24 March 2020, the Fair Work Commission fast tracked amendments to the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 (the Hospitality Award). The amendments are intended to respond to the impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry, and are focused on the work employees can be required to perform, hours of work, and utilising annual leave.

The amendments apply from 24 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

While we appreciate that many of you will not be in the hospitality industry, we anticipate that similar amendments may be made to a number of additional modern award in the coming days and weeks, particularly in other industries that are likely to be hard hit by the impacts of COVID-19, including:

  • the retail industry;
  • the hair and beauty industry;
  • the restaurant industry;
  • the fitness industry; and
  • the amusement, events and recreation industry.

To help you prepare for what may be coming in your industry, we have set out below the changes that were made to the Hospitality Award.

Duties and classifications

  • Employers can direct employees to do any tasks that they have the skill and competency for, regardless of whether those tasks are part of their normal work duties.

  • An employee's pay rate will not change while they are performing different tasks.

  • The task must be safe and lawful. Employers should ensure that the employee holds any required licenses or qualifications.

  • If an employee is engaged in duties that carry a higher rate of pay under the Award than their normal work, they will be entitled to be paid that higher rate for the day the duties are performed.

Hours of work for full-time and part-time employees

  • Employers will be able to reduce the hours worked by permanent employees.

  • For full-time employees, hours can be reduced to 22.8 hours per week. For part-time employees, hours can be reduced to 60% of their ordinary hours per week or over their roster cycle.

  • Employees working reduced hours must be paid on a pro-rata basis.

  • Employers must ensure they consult with the employee about any reduction in hours and provide as much notice as is practicable in the circumstances. If the employee is a member of a union, this includes letting the employee's union know about the reduction.

  • Employees who are working reduced hours will continue to accrue personal and annual leave based on their pre-reduction ordinary hours.

Annual leave

  • Employers can direct an employee to take annual leave with 24 hours' notice.

  • To make such a direction, an employer must consider the personal situation of the employee.

  • An employee can take leave at half pay for double the amount of time with the consent of their employer.

  • This does not affect the ability of an employee to request and take annual leave as usual.
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