Industrial Relations

February 22, 2016

2014 Modern Award Review

The AHA/TAA has been highly active in this process, funding and taking the lead position in driving the employer input into the 2014 Review of the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 (the HIGA). The following a brief update on the progress.

Penalty Rates:

The hearing of our employer witness evidence was completed in September 2015 after nearly three weeks of hearings wherein our 43 witnesses were all called and were subject to cross examination.

We acknowledge and thank members who committed their time and knowledge to provide the evidence and attendance at the Fair Work Commission in support of our penalty rates application.

The AHA/TAA Expert Evidence and the Employee witnesses were also heard during the last quarter of 2015. The AHA filed its final written submissions with the Fair Work Commission on 3 February 2016.

The United Voice are due to file their final written submissions by 21 March 2016, with a date of 1 April for the AHA to file any further submissions, in reply.  April has been set aside by the Fair Work Commission for the final hearing dates for this application.  There is not any indication as to a date when there may be a decision announced by the Fair Work Commission.

However, yesterday the Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross publicly agreed to consider the Productivity Commission’s call to cut Sunday penalty rates as part of his election-year review of penalties across key industries.

In a win for business, a full bench led by Justice Ross said it would allow key chapters of the commission’s review that advocate bringing Sunday penalties in certain industries into line with lower Saturday rates to be submitted by employers. Unions opposed the employer application on a number of grounds, including that the chapters were “inadmissible on the grounds of hearsay, opinion and prejudice”. But the full bench said it was satisfied that seven chapters of the review, and an appendix, were “relevant to the review of penalty rates in the awards before us”.

The AHA application, submissions, witness evidence and all other details of the penalty rates application can be found on the Fair Work Commission website at

https://www.fwc.gov.au/awards-and-agreements/modern-award-reviews/am2014305-penalty-rates-case

Part Time Flexibility:

We continue to seek more workable and more flexible part time arrangements within the HIGA and we currently have an application before the Fair Work Commission in support of such flexibility.

The hearing dates for the part time flexibility are set down for 14 to 24 March.

General HIGA Variation:

We have made an application for some general variations within the HIGA and these matters will be heard at a date to be fixed later in 2016.

Cashing out of Annual Leave:

An application was made to incorporate the cashing out of annual leave within the HIGA. Whilst this is now approved, in principle, the final determination is still to be made by the Fair Work Commission and this will be incorporated within the HIGA in due course.

Cashing out of annual leave is still not approved under the HIGA as at this date.

Annual Wage Review:

The Annual Wage Review for 2015/2016 is now underway with a final determination being made in early June 2016.