Fair Work, Industry News

COVID-19 Fair Work Update on Award Conditions

By Paolo Coniglio, 05.04.2020

COVID-19 Fair Work Update on Award Conditions

On 1 April 2020, the Fair Work Commission issued a statement outlining their intention to update 103 Awards in consequence to the Coronavirus pandemic. The proposed updates would provide:

  • 10 Days Unpaid Pandemic Leave;
  • Flexibility to take Annual Leave at half pay.

This proposed variations would be valid until the 30 June 2020. The list of the proposed awards can be found in section 108 of the Variation Award Statement.

Awards Flexibility

A number of unions and employer associations have also applied to the Fair Work Commission to increase Award Flexibility. Currently, 3 Awards have had new flexible conditions added to their Schedule. These are:

  • Restaurant Industry Award [MA000119]
  • Hospitality Industry Award [MA000009]
  • Clerks Private Sector Award [MA000002]

The variation includes a number of flexible options aimed to increase employee retention. These options include:

  • Employees Classification and Duties
    (where employees to perform additional tasks that have the skills and competency for, even if those tasks are not in their usual work classification);
  • The ability to reduce employees’ hours of work;
  • The ability to take twice as much Annual Leave at half pay;
  • The ability to reduce the minimum work shift from 3 hours to 2 hours when working from home;
  • The ability for employers to direct employees to take annual leave.

Note: not all the above conditions are available across each of the three awards. Specific terms have been stipulated in each Award Schedule. Please refer to the Fair Work Website, if you have employees classified under one of the above awards.

Fair Work – Award Flexibility during Coronavirus 


This blog and attached resources are of general nature designed for informational and educational purposes only. They should not be construed as professional financial advice for your individual business. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.

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