If your employees are covered by either of these awards you will find our earlier articles useful: The Clerks Private Sector 2010: the latest modern Award to respond to COVID-19 and Award flexibility in response to COVID-19: What employers need to know
Most recently the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 (Award) was amended to enable employers to, amongst other things:
1. Direct an employee to perform any duties within their skill and competency, irrespective of the employee's classification within the Award, where it is safe and, if required, they are licensed/qualified to do so (a higher duties allowance may be enlivened where duties are above the employee's usual classification);
2. Reduce permanent employees' weekly hours, after consulting the effected employee/s (in accordance with the existing consolation provisions at clause 8a of the Award), as follows:
a. To no less than an average of 22.8 hours per week, if employed full-time; or
b. To an average of no less than 60% of their guaranteed hours, if employed part-time.
Please note that any leave accruals taken or accrued during this period are to be at the employees usual rate (i.e. if they are a full time employee working a 38 hour week and their hours are reduced to 25 hours per week, they will continue to accrue leave entitlements at their full time rate).
3. Direct an employee to use their annual leave accrual:
a. Upon providing 24 hours' notice and after considering the employee's personal circumstances; or
b. If an employer is required to close down its operations (or part thereof) and the employee has been given at least 1 weeks' notice (less if mutually agreed). If an employee has insufficient leave to cover any close down period they must be allowed to utilise any accrued annual leave and be given unpaid leave for the remainder (this period of unpaid leave will count towards the employee's period of continuous service and does not affect leave accruals).
Please note that any forced annual leave period cannot extend beyond the operation of the temporary changes (currently a nominal expiry of 30 June 2020, however there is flexibility to extend this).
4. If mutually agreed, the employee can access their annual leave accrual at half-pay for a longer leave period. For example: where one week annual leave has accrued, the employee may agree to take two weeks at half pay.
The above changes took immediate effect on 31 March 2020 and will operate until 30 June 2020, however this period can be extended.
If you require further information or have any queries in relation to this legal update, please contact Michelle Dawson or Matthew Smith.
We would like to acknowledge the contribution of Nicole Davis to this article.