Hospitality Industry Award varied to include COVID-19 flexibility schedule

COVID-19 Employment & Safety

In brief 1 min read

On 24 March 2020, the Fair Work Commission varied the Hospitality Industry (General) Award to introduce temporary changes in response to COVID-19, following government orders to shut down various parts of the hospitality industry.

Key takeaways

The changes to the Hospitality Award:

  • Allow employers to require employees to perform other duties, including to perform work across classifications, provided it is safe to do so and the employee has the necessary license and qualifications (eg Responsible Serving of Alcohol certificate)
    • Allow employers to reduce ordinary hours of work:
    • employers may reduce a full-time employee's ordinary hours to no lower than 22.8 hours a week, paid on a pro-rata basis;
    • a part-time employee can be directed to work fewer hours, no less than 60% of their guaranteed hours per week;
    • before issuing any direction to reduce hours, employers must consult with the employee and provide as much notice as practicable;
    • the United Workers Union must be notified prior to implementing any changes where the employee is a member of the union; and
    • leave entitlements continue to accrue based on the employee's existing (pre-variation) ordinary hours of work, even if their hours are reduced.
  • Allow employers to direct employees to take annual leave:
    • employers can direct employees to take annual leave, with 24 hours’ notice; and
    • an employer and employee may agree to extended leave by the employee taking twice as much annual leave on half pay.

The variation inserts a new COVID-19 Pandemic schedule that takes effect immediately and operates until 30 June 2020.