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On 24 March 2020, the Fair Work Commission made a determination varying the Hospitality Award. The changes improve award flexibility during the outbreak of coronavirus for classifications and duties, hours of work for full-time and part-time employees and annual leave.

Temporary Changes

The determination inserted a temporary new Schedule, which applies from an employee’s first full pay period on or after 24 March until 30 June 2020. Schedule L adds award flexibility during the outbreak of coronavirus for:

  • employees’ classifications and duties
  • full-time and part-time employees’ hours of work
  • directions to take annual leave.

The Fair Work Commission may extend when Schedule L operates until, if necessary. We’ll update this content if that happens.

The following changes apply under Schedule L, for employers and employees covered by the Hospitality Award.

Change in duties

While Schedule L applies, employers can tell their employees to do any tasks that they have the skill and competency for, even if those tasks aren’t in their usual classification or normal work. The task must be safe and the employee must have all the appropriate licenses and qualifications to perform the tasks.

If an employee is told to work above their usual classification, the employer needs to pay them at the higher rate.

Employees who do tasks below their usual classification are still paid at their usual pay rate.

Example: employee directed to do deliveries

Mia is a waiter who usually removes food and clears tables. She’s paid as a food and beverage attendant grade 1 under the Hospitality Award.

The pub she works at is currently only doing takeaway and deliveries because of coronavirus. Mia has a driver’s licence and a car. Under the new Hospitality Award flexibility arrangements, Mia’s employer directs her to deliver food to customers. She’s paid as a food and beverage attendant grade 2 for these higher duties.

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

Employers can reduce their permanent employees’ hours of work to an average of:

  • between 22.8 and 38 ordinary hours each week for full time employees
  • between 60% and 100% of the guaranteed hours per week or over the roster cycle for part-time employees.

If an employer wants to reduce an employee’s hours, they need to discuss the changes with them, making sure they:

  • follow the award’s consultation rules about changes to rosters or hours of work
  • provide as much notice as practicable.

If an employee is a member of a union, their employer also needs to let their union know this change is happening.

Employees working reduced hours under Schedule L will continue to accumulate and take their paid leave based on their ordinary hours before the employer reduced the hours.

Example: reduction of hours

Augustus works as a full-time clerical assistant at a bespoke taphouse and winery. He’s employed as a clerical grade 2 worker under the Hospitality Award. Augustus’s employer lets him know that because the business is now only selling takeaways, the amount of administrative work has reduced and they need to reduce his hours.

Augustus, his organiser from the United Workers Union and his employer sit down together and work through the consultation clause. They agree Augustus will work 25 hours per week until 30 June 2020, when the Schedule stops applying.

In May, Augustus is sick with coronavirus and takes sick leave to self-isolate while he’s unwell. Augustus is entitled to be paid for 38 hours each week while he’s on sick leave because this is what his ordinary hours were before the reduction.

Annual leave

Employers can direct an employee to take annual leave under Schedule L. Employers need to:

  • give their employees at least 24 hours notice
  • consider their employee’s personal situation.

Employees can take twice as much annual leave at half pay if their employer agrees.

Employees and employers can still agree to take annual leave at any time.

Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws

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