Fair Work Commission announces review of retail and food service industry modern awards

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In a further significant development in the industrial relations arena, the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) announced on Friday that it will be reviewing seven commonly used modern awards. The announcement follows correspondence from the Hon. Tony Burke MP, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations to Adam Hatcher, President of the Fair Work Commission dated 12 September 2023 requesting a review.  

The seven modern awards proposed for review are:  

  • General Retail Industry Award 2020; 
  • Fast Food Industry Award 2010; 
  • Restaurant Industry Award 2020;  
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2020;  
  • Clerks—Private Sector Award 2020;  
  • Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010; and 
  • Children’s Services Award 2010.  

In its review, the Minister Burke, has requested that the Commission prioritise four key areas, that is:  

  1. gender pay equity — ensuring that that “modern award wages are appropriately set having regard to the amended objects of the Fair Work Act 2009 regarding gender equality and the other amendments aimed at eliminating gender-based undervaluation of work”; 
  2. job security — considering whether “the terms of awards appropriately reflect the new object of the Fair Work Act 2009 and modern awards objective regarding job security and the need to improve access to work across the economy”; 
  3. work and care — considering “the impact of workplace relations settings … on work and care”; and 
  4. arts and culture — considering “modern award coverage and minimum standards for the arts and culture sector”, particularly any “potential coverage gaps”. 

Minister Burke has also requested that the Commission use the opportunity to consider using the review to identify what parties believe could be done to make modern awards easier to use” without “any reduction in worker entitlements”.  

Next steps 

The National Retail Association will be surveying its members for comment and advocating on their behalf by making submissions to the Commission.  

The Commission is set to publish a draft timetable for the conduct of the review this month.  

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please call NRA Legal on 1800 572 679.

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