COVID-19 has heightened unpredictability for many industries, hospitality being one of the most hard hit. Lockdowns, density limitations, extra policing, and mask rules have all had an affect on individuals, businesses and ultimately, our economy. So much so that former Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter urged the Fair Work Commission (FWC) late last year to grant "increased flexibility" to four Modern Awards, three of which apply to hospitality. And because of this, the Commission began reviewing whether loaded rates and exemption rates might be included in the four awards to “support Australia’s economic recovery”.
The first of these decisions was made on 14 July, with a Full Bench approving three changes to the Restaurant Industry Award which will go live on 11 August for a 12 month trial. This experimental and constructive approach taken by the FWC even has Justice Ian Ross, President of the FWC calling the changes "somewhat novel".