The Fair Work Commission has approved measures to change the Hospitality Industry General Award (HIGA) in response to the unprecedented circumstances which have unfolded in response to COVID-19.
The changes were the result of an application submitted by the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) in collaboration with the United Workers Union (UWU), which the AHA said it believes the changes will help save jobs throughout Australia’s hospitality industry.
The approved changes are as follows:
- After consulting with the relevant employee, employers can now direct full-time employees to work between five days and three days, or 60 per cent, of their guaranteed hours per week.
- Employees can perform duties within their skill level regardless of their classification, provided that their duties are safe.
- An employer may direct an employee to take annual leave upon 24 hours’ notice.
- An employer and employee may agree to the taking of twice as much annual leave at half the rate of pay.
AHA chief executive Stephen Ferguson said the objective of the variation is to ensure as many employees as possible can retain employment during this unprecedented crisis.
“The AHA and UWU believe the variation provides as much flexibility to employers as possible while also ensuring employees are protected,” Ferguson said.
“I want to thank UWU National President Jo Schofield and her team for working with us as quickly as possible to make this application.”
“We also commend the federal government for its support of this application and, in particular the leadership of the Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations the Hon Christian Porter MP.”
“The full bench of the Fair Work Commission commended the balanced nature of the arrangements and noted that this was a time for cooperation, not conflict.”