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Restaurant award variation continues employer/employee coronavirus cooperation

Media Release

Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter, today welcomed the agreement between employers and unions to amend the Restaurant Industry Award to help manage the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Yet again we are seeing strong co-operation between employers and unions on behalf of workers to make sensible amendments to industrial awards,” the Attorney-General, said.

“I congratulate United Workers Union and the Australian Council of Trade Unions, who on behalf of employees have reached agreement with Restaurant and Catering Industrial and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry acting on behalf of employers for changes to the Award which will help more the 43,000 restaurants and cafes across Australia which employ about 450,000 people.

“Many of these businesses are amongst the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, being the first to shut their doors.  Whilst many are attempting to stay open and employ some staff by shifting to takeaway, some conditions in the Award made it difficult to employ existing staff to do so.

“The changes now agreed to, and subject to ratification by the Fair Work Commission on Wednesday, reflect changes in other Awards recently, including flexibility over annual leave and reduced hours for both full-time and part-time employees.

“This means many of these businesses will be able to keep staff on to focus on take-away service.  They will still benefit from the new $1500 JobKeeper Payment announced today by the Prime Minister and Treasurer.

“All parties to this agreement deserve strong support for their co-operative approach to helping both businesses and workers directly and dramatically affected by the current situation.  I commend the Fair Work Commission for considering this and similar matters over the past week with appropriate urgency.”