The hospitality award is one of the most common industry awards used throughout Australia. As of 2021 there are roughly 478,000 employees earning under the hospitality award rates, a figure that has decreased dramatically throughout the pandemic, as social distancing and the restriction of social gathering became key strategies for preventing it’s spread. However, following a strong post-COVID recovery aided by government stimulus and a boost in consumer spending, the sector is expected to grow substantially in coming years.

About the hospitality award

The first modern awards were created as part of an extensive review conducted by the Fair Work Commission’s predecessor, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC), and began use on the 1st of January 2010. The resulting modern awards cover Australia’s largest industries, and aim to ensure that employees are compensated fairly for their work. 

The Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2020 [MA000009], is a comprehensive set of pay rules maintained by the Fair Work Commission. It advises employers of the minimum entitlements and rates of pay they must provide hospitality employees, including the minimum wage & base pay rates for various levels of employment, overtime rates, penalty rates and allowances.

The hospitality award covers a broad range of professions and workers within the industry including food and beverage assistants, guest services, cooks, chefs,  kitchen attendants, storepersons, front office staff, door persons/security officers and gardeners.

Hospitality award rates

Below is a short summary of minimum rates casual employees must be paid under the hospitality award. If you don’t see the classification you’re looking for, a full list of all classifications and hospitality award pay rates for 2021 can be found in the Fair Work Commission’s pay guide. If unsure of which classifications apply, read on to learn about keeping compliant with Fair Work legislation, classifying your employees and paying penalties and allowances under the hospitality award.

Hourly pay  rate

Monday to  Friday 7pm to midnight

Monday to  Friday midnight to 7am

Saturday 

Sunday

$24.80 

$24.80 per hour plus $2.31  per hour or part of an hour

$24.80 per hour plus $3.46  per hour or part of an hour

$29.76 

$34.72

Hourly pay  rate

Monday to  Friday  7pm to midnight

Monday to  Friday midnight to 7am

Saturday 

Sunday

$25.51 

$25.51 per hour plus $2.31  per hour or part of an hour

$25.51 per hour plus $3.46  per hour or part of an hour

$30.62 

$35.72

Hourly pay  rate

Monday to  Friday 7pm to midnight

Monday to  Friday midnight to 7am

Saturday 

Sunday

$25.51 

$25.51 per hour plus $2.31  per hour or part of an hour

$25.51 per hour plus $3.46  per hour or part of an hour

$30.62 

$35.72

Hourly pay  rate

Monday to  Friday 7pm to midnight

Monday to  Friday midnight to 7am

Saturday 

Sunday

$25.51 

$25.51 per hour plus $2.31  per hour or part of an hour

$25.51 per hour plus $3.46  per hour or part of an hour

$30.62 

$35.72

Hourly pay  rate

Monday to  Friday 7pm to midnight

Monday to  Friday midnight to 7am

Saturday 

Sunday

$24.80 

$24.80 per hour plus $2.31  per hour or part of an hour

$24.80 per hour plus $3.46  per hour or part of an hour

$29.76 

$34.72

Hourly pay  rate

Monday to  Friday 7pm to midnight

Monday to  Friday midnight to 7am

Saturday 

Sunday

$26.49 

$26.49 per hour plus $2.31  per hour or part of an hour

$26.49 per hour plus $3.46  per hour or part of an hour

$31.79 

$37.08

Hourly pay  rate

Monday to  Friday 7pm to midnight

Monday to  Friday midnight to 7am

Saturday 

Sunday

$26.49 

$26.49 per hour plus $2.31  per hour or part of an hour

$26.49 per hour plus $3.46  per hour or part of an hour

$31.79 

$37.08

Hourly pay  rate

Monday to  Friday 7pm to midnight

Monday to  Friday midnight to 7am

Saturday 

Sunday

$26.49 

$26.49 per hour plus $2.31  per hour or part of an hour

$26.49 per hour plus $3.46  per hour or part of an hour

$31.79 

$37.08

Keeping compliant with Fair Work legislation

One key limitation of the award system is its often criticised complexity, this introduces an added administrative burden for employers looking to pay their staff fairly and correctly for hours worked. The hospitality industry award is especially difficult to pay when compared to other modern awards, as there are a number of overtime and weekend penalty rates that need to be accounted for each pay run. 

In order to overcome these complexities we highly recommend using Australian-made award compliance software to do your pay calculations. Tanda comes pre-configured with Fair Work award templates, including the hospitality award, allowing the system to calculate the correct pay rates, overtime, and allowances for your employees. Within Tanda, paying staff correctly under the hospitality award is as simple as applying the templated awards rules and selecting the employee’s classification.

Award Interpretation

Classifying employees under the hospitality award

Classifying employees correctly is essential for paying hospitality award rates correctly as the rates and entitlements vary between different classifications. Below are examples of how you could classify your employees based on the frequency and type of work they do. If you’re unsure of how a staff member should be classified, or are looking for more information on how to correctly classify staff, the Fair Work guide on types of employees is a great place to begin.

Full-time employees

  • Usually works, on average, 38 hours each week.
  • Can be a permanent employee or on a fixed-term contract.

Part-time employees

  • On average work less than 38 hours per week.
  • Commonly work regular hours each week.
  • Can be a permanent employee or on a fixed-term contract.

Casual employees

  • Are employed with the understanding that there is no firm advance commitment to ongoing work with an agreed pattern of work.

Casual conversion

The hospitality award is one of 80+ modern awards to introduce the casual conversion clause. This must be taken into account when calculating hospitality award rates, as casual staff on a fixed schedule may be entitled to alternate rates and additional entitlements such as leave when re-classified as part-time employees. The clause allows casual workers to apply for part-time classification if:

  • They have been working for the business for twelve (12) months; and
  • Their work pattern is an ongoing number of hours over the past year, which can be continued without adjustment upon conversion to full-time or part-time.

Penalties and allowances

Hospitality is particularly prone to incurring penalties such as weekend rates, and overtime as well as allowances such as broken shift allowances, laundry, clothing, and tool allowances, introducing further complexities to paying staff. A full list of allowances can be found within the Fair Work Pay Guide

Leave entitlements

Staff can expect to receive the same leave entitlements under the hospitality award as many other modern awards, as employees are entitled to leave as set out in the National Employment Standards (NES). Leave entitlements are commonly dictated by the classification of the employee.

Full-time employees

  • Are entitled to paid leave including annual leave and sick & carer’s leave.

Part-time employees

  • Are entitled to paid leave including annual leave and sick & carer’s leave.

Casual employees

  • Are not entitled to paid leave including annual leave and sick & carer’s leave.

Full-time and part-time employees get 4 weeks of annual leave, based on their ordinary hours of work. If a part-time employee works 20 hours per week for the year, they will accumulate 80 hours of annual leave, the equivalent of 4 weeks work for them.