On 12 December 2018, as part of its four yearly review of modern awards, the Fair Work Commission determined to make several amendments to the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 (“Hospitality Award”) and the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 (“Restaurant Award”). The exact wording of the changes, and the time they will be implemented, will be subject to further hearings early next year.

Some of the changes are  minor, whereas as others, such as those changing the wording of the classification of a “Food and Beverage Attendant Grade 2” employee in the Hospitality Award or various changes to the scope and value of various allowances, are likely to be more significant.

We set out a summary of the changes that will be introduced below:

Hospitality Award

  1. A definition of “junior employee” will be inserted in the Award (“an employee under the age of 20 who is not undertaking a nationally recognised traineeship or apprenticeship”).
  2. Wage progression for apprentices based on competency (rather than just on time as an apprentice) will be introduced.
  3. There will be clarification that the fork-lift driver allowance is an “all-purpose” allowance (ie to be added to an employee’s hourly rate of pay).
  4. Amendments to provisions dealing with ordinary hours of work for full-time employees will be made to make a distinction between “accrued days off” and “rostered days off”. This will mean that, for example, different rules apply where a public holiday falls on an employee’s normal day off versus a day off accrued as part of an RDO system.
  5. There will be greater flexibility for employers and employees to agree when a substitute day off is taken, in circumstances where an employee has been required to work on a public holiday.
  6. There will be greater flexibility for averaging full-time employees’ hours to allow 76 hours to be worked over a two week period (so long as the employee has a minimum of four days off in such a period).
  7. There will be clarification that in calculating minimum engagement periods for public holidays, the whole of the shift is included where a shift is partly during a public holiday and partly on the day immediately before or after the public holiday.
  8. Amendments will be made to provisions that allow employers to deduct the cost of providing meals from employees’ wages . Employers will now be able to deduct $7.96 per meal (subject to requirements set out in the award) rather than $8.37 per week (the Fair Work Commission found that the existing drafting of the award is as a result of a drafting error).
  9. The classification of a “Food and Beverage Attendant Grade 2” employee will be varied by inserting the words “taking reservations, greeting and seating guests”. Previously an employee whose duties included “taking reservations, greeting and seating guests” would have been classified as a “Food & Beverage Attendant Grade 3” employee. This amendment brings the classification in line with the Restaurant Award.
  10. The ability for employers to recover expenses it pays to employees for working away from their usual places of work where the employee concerned leaves their employment or is dismissed for misconduct within three months of receiving such a payment will be removed.
  11. The tool allowance will be increased to $8.49 per week and its scope expanded to cover “where a cook or apprentice cook is required to use their own tools…”

Restaurant Award

  1. Tool allowance – scope of the provision will be expanded to cover “where a cook or apprentice cook is required to use their own tools”.
  2. The Fair Work Commission also took provisional views on a number of matters (i.e. a final decision about whether any amendments will be made will be taken after hearing from any interested parties):
    • That there should be greater protection for employees regarding taking breaks by excluding meal breaks from matters that can be varied by Individual Flexibility Arrangements (IFAs). However, the Commission also took the provisional view that an individual employee and employer may agree that an unpaid meal break Award may be taken “no later than six and a half hours after starting work” (current requirement is that meal break must be taken no later than six hours after starting work).
    • Clauses allowing for deduction of wages for “breakages or cashiering underings” in circumstances where the employee has engaged in “wilful misconduct” should be deleted.
    • Competency based progression for apprentices should be introduced (in line with the changes to the Hospitality Award discussed above).

We’ll keep you up to date with the exact wording of the changes and the dates this will happen.

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The full text of the Fair Work Commission’s decision is here.