Accom bodies push flexibility for employers during coronavirus crisis

Industry bodies have joined forces with unions to change hospitality award rules which will help employers retain staff through periods of low occupancy during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Australian Hotels Association (AHA), Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) and the United Workers Union called for the changes to ensure as many employees as possible hold on to their jobs during the coronavirus crisis.

Employers can now ask full-time staff to work between three and five days, or 60 per cent of their guaranteed hours per week, and employees can perform duties within their skill level regardless of their classification, provided those duties are safe.

An employer can also direct staff to take annual leave at 24 hours’ notice and arrangements can be agreed for staff to take twice as much annual leave at half the rate of pay.

“The AHA and UWU believes the variation provides as much flexibility to employers as possible while also ensuring employees are protected,” said AHA chief executive Stephen Ferguson.

TAA National CEO Michael Johnson said the two industry bodies had led the way with the support of the UWU “when other accommodation bodies failed to act”.

“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,” he said.