April 29, 2020   |   Compliance

Temporary award updates to help employees and employers

Due to COVID-19, Fair Work has added new provisions to a number of awards.

The main awards that have been updated are as follows;

  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010
  • Clerks—Private Sector Award 2010
  • Restaurant Industry Award 2010

The updates will remain in place until 30 June 2020.

The below table lists out some of the important updates;

Award updates

You can see the full updates for each award in the following schedules

  • Schedule L: Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010
  • Schedule I: Clerks—Private Sector Award 2010
  • Schedule I: Restaurant Industry Award 2010

However, Fair Work also updated 99 modern awards on 8 April to include two new temporary additions to apply until 30 June 2020.

These updates are included under Schedule X—Additional Measures During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

What awards will be impacted?

The 99 awards that have been updated with the proposed changes are listed on the Fair Work website here.

Some of the common awards to be updated include;

  • Aged Care Award 2010
  • Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2020
  • Contract Call Centres Award 2010
  • Fast Food Industry Award 2010
  • Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award 2010
  • General Retail Industry Award 2010
  • Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010
  • Legal Services Award 2020
  • Local Government Industry Award 2010
  • Miscellaneous Award 2010
  • Professional Employees Award 2010
  • Registered and Licensed Clubs Award 2010
  • Restaurant Industry Award 2010
  • Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010
  • State Government Agencies Award 2020

What are the two updates?

The two additions are related to unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave at half pay.

Unpaid pandemic leave

The unpaid pandemic leave clause has been added to address the knowledge gap and uncertainty around employees who are required to self-isolate.

With this new leave type, an employee can choose to take 2 weeks of unpaid leave for self-isolation purposes if;

  • Required by the Government;
  • Required by medical authorities;
  • Acting on medical advice; or
  • The employee is required to work on-premise for their employer but cannot do so due to measures undertaken by the Government or medical authorities in response to COVID-19

More often than not, when an employee is on leave without pay, they do not accrue National Employment Standards (NES) leave entitlements. However, under this new unpaid leave type, an employee is entitled to accrue their paid and unpaid leave entitlements as stipulated to them under their award and the NES. It will also count towards the employee’s service to their employer.

Annual leave at half pay

This clause specifies that an employee can take twice as much leave at half their rate of pay; if agreed on with them and their employer.

Written records must be retained if such an agreement is to take place between an employee and an employer.

For further information on the variations, visit the Fair Work website.


Information provided in this article is general information, not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Definitiv does not accept liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the content of this article.

Please be aware, information within this article is correct as of 29 April 2020.