Efforts by Tourism Accommodation Australia to save as many industry jobs as possible during the Coronavirus shutdown have proven successful after the Fair Work Commission agreed to modify a key employment award to avoid mass redundancies.
In collaboration with the Australian Hotels Association and the United Workers Union, the Hospitality Industry General Award has been amended to allow employers to keep their workers on the books via enforced annual leave, long-service leave and other measures. Full-time employees can be required, after prior consultation, to work between three and five days, or 60% of their guaranteed hours per week, while annual leave can be taken with 24 hours’ notice.
Further, employers can ask their staff to take twice as much of their accrued annual leave at half the rate of pay, preventing contract violation and termination and allowing the staff member to remain employed.
Under the changes, employees can also perform duties within their skill level, regardless of classification, as long as the tasks being performed were safe.
Tourism Accommodation Australia National CEO, Michael Johnson, labelled the move a “victory for common sense” and that employers now had unprecedented flexibility to keep workers on the books during the present market difficulties.
“TAA and AHA have worked to keep as many people as possible in jobs during this unprecedented crisis.
“TAA and AHA have been pro-actively fighting for staff and the right for businesses to stay open when at the same time others in the sector focused on trying to shut our industry down.”