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Temporary COVID-19 changes to the Restaurant Industry Award 2010


On Tuesday 31 March 2020, a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) approved an application made by the Restaurant and Catering Industry and supported by the United Workers Union (UWU), to introduce flexibilities in to the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 allowing employers to respond to the challenges presented by COVID-19.  This is the third modern Award we have seen being temporarily amended, for this reason.

The temporary changes which will operate until June 30 are:

Classifications and duties

An employer may direct an employee to 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 these duties.

Higher duties will apply to employees engaged on duties carrying a higher rate than their normal rate.

Hours of Work – full-time and part-time employees

An employer may direct a full-time employee to work an average of between 22.8 and 38 ordinary hours per week. The employee will be paid on a pro rata basis.

An employer may direct a part-time employee to work an average of between 60% and 100% of their guaranteed hours per week.  For example, a part-time employee guaranteed 30 hours per week can have their hours reduced to a minimum of 18 hours.

Prior to an employer directing a full-time or part-time employee to work reduced average hours, the employer must consult with affected employees and the UWU (if they are a member of the UWU).

A full-time or part-time employee given a direction to work reduced hours will continue to accrue personal/carer’s leave, annual leave and other applicable accruals based on the employee’s usual ordinary hours of work.

Annual Leave

Subject to considering an employee’s personal circumstances, an employer may direct an employee to take annual leave with 24 hours notice. However, this does not prevent an employer and employee from mutually agreeing for the employee to take annual leave at any time.

An employer and employee may agree for the employee to take twice as much annual leave at half the rate of pay for all or part of any period of annual leave.

Close down

An employer may require an employee to take annual leave by giving at least one week’s notice as part of a close down of its operations, or any shorter period of notice that may be agreed.

Those with insufficient annual leave may take what accrual they have, followed by a period of unpaid leave for the duration of the close down.

The period of unpaid leave will count as service for the purposes of relevant award and NES entitlements. These amendments provide some relief to Restaurant employers during this difficult time.

A copy of the FWC Order, can be found here.

Not sure of your obligations?

If you’d like to know more about the application of these amendments, or  need advice on how to respond to the impact of Coronavirus in your workplace, we are here to help!  Contact us here and a Mapien Consultant will be in touch within 24 hours!

Written By
Jamie Paterson
With over 18 years’ experience as a human resources professional within large multi-national organisations, Jamie provides tailored employment relations solutions across geographically diverse operations focusing on all aspects of leading and managing people and practically applying his expertise in HR/IR strategy, leadership coaching, enterprise bargaining, and functional/operational auditing processes.