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Restaurant Industry Award Rates: Complete Guide 2022

3 min read ·  

Thousands of restaurants across Australia pay their staff based on the Restaurant Industry Award. The Award dictates the pay, classifications and conditions for most restaurant staff in Australia, like waiters and waitresses, or baristas. Confusingly, staff that work for restaurants that are connected to a hotel are actually covered by the Hospitality Award. So, who is covered by the Award, and how can you pay them correctly?

About the Restaurant Industry Award MA000119

Award rates were created by the federal Government to give fair pay to workers in different industries. The idea is that the Fair Work Commission balances the need for businesses to make a profit with the need for workers to get a fair go. Because of variation in the profitability and types of work in each industry, the rates vary across sectors.

The Restaurant Industry Award MA000119 covers traditional restaurants, cafes or roadhouses, and even includes things like a tea room operated in connection with a restaurant. However, it does not include any restaurant that is operated in connection with the Hospitality, Clubs, or Fast Food Award. In practice, this means that pubs, hotels, nightclubs and other clubs, and all fast food restaurants are not covered by the Award.

Complexity of the Award System

The Award system tries to make sure every industry is properly looked at and workers given a fair go, so it can get very complicated. There are 180 modern awards, and each one can have 180-200 individual rules, covering overtime, shift breaks, RDO’s, public holidays, among hundreds of other rules. This includes the Restaurant Industry Award.

This laundry list of rules makes following the law very difficult, and has seen many businesses get tripped up. The result? Payroll errors and underpayments. Some businesses use the Fair Work Commission’s calculator to manually look up entitlements for each employee. However, as staff counts increase, this can become time-consuming, complex, and error-prone.

Selecting The Correct Award

It’s very important that your staff are paid under the correct Award. It can be very easy to confuse the Restaurant Industry Award with the Fast Food Industry Award and the Hospitality Industry Award. As a basic guide, if you run a standalone restaurant, you’ll be covered under the Restaurant Industry Award. If your restaurant is connected to a hotel, you’re covered under the Hospitality Award. Don’t forget, although unlikely, you could also be covered by the Fast Food Award, which covers businesses that serve food and drinks to be consumed primarily away from the point of sale.

Keeping compliant with Fair Work legislation

In recent years, businesses have automated their interpretation of awards because of the complexity of Australia’s industrial relations framework. In the past, many businesses which used manual methods of calculating pay have had underpayment issues. In 2020 alone, workers were underpaid to the tune of about $2.4 billion dollars. The biggest reason for underpayment isn’t that businesses are trying to scam workers – it’s the complexity of the award system.

Increasingly, businesses are turning to Workforce Management Software like Tanda to stay compliant. Tanda records an employee’s time and attendance, and applies the appropriate pay rate, penalty rates, allowances and higher duties, integrating straight into payroll. Tanda manages a large number of awards including the Restaurant Industry Award with built in rates that sync with payroll, update on staff birthdays or when Fair Work rules change.

Restaurant Industry Award 2022 pay rates

Below are the minimum general Restaurant Industry Award pay rates for 2022 for the various levels of employment. The current rule set came into effect on the 1st of November 2021. The Restaurant Industry Award has a unique rule set, which allows busineses to pay people at standard rates, or a higher hourly all-inclusive rate, which covers for all overtime payments. This is called the exemption rate (because it exempts you from paying overtime and other penalties). The rates below are the standard hourly rates, not the exemption rates.

Level

Hourly Pay

Saturday

Sunday

Public Holiday

Level 1

$12.71

$15.26

$15.26

$25.43

Level

Hourly Pay

Saturday

Sunday

Public Holiday

Level 1

$10.17

$12.71

$15.26

$22.88

Level

Hourly Pay

Saturday

Sunday

Public Holiday

Level 1

$15.25

$18.30

$18.30

$30.50

Level

Hourly Pay

Saturday

Sunday

Public Holiday

Level 1

$12.20

$15.25

$18.30

$27.45

Level

Hourly Pay

Saturday

Sunday

Public Holiday

Level 1

$17.79

$21.35

$21.35

$35.58

Level

Hourly Pay

Saturday

Sunday

Public Holiday

Level 1

$14.23

$17.79

$21.35

$32.02

Level

Hourly Pay

Saturday

Sunday

Public Holiday

Level 1

$21.60

$25.92

$25.92

$43.20

Level

Hourly Pay

Saturday

Sunday

Public Holiday

Level 1

$17.28

$21.60

$25.92

$38.88

Level

Hourly Pay

Saturday

Sunday

Public Holiday

Level 1

$20.33

$25.41

$30.501

$45.74

Level

Hourly Pay

Saturday

Sunday

Public Holiday

Level 1

$25.41

$30.50

$30.50

$50.83

Classifying employees under the Restaurant Industry Award

One of the biggest reasons employers underpay staff is because they have been incorrectly classified. The rates and entitlements vary dramatically depending on what classification an employee is. Fair Work provides a complete guide on classifying staff. But, for a basic outline, see below:

FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES

  • On average works 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

Recent changes to workplace laws allow some casuals to become permanent employees. These rules were created to stop situations where casuals worked full-time for long periods without any access to annual leave. You’ll need to offer casual conversion if an employee has been at the business for at least a year and worked consistent hours in that time. For more information on casual conversion see Tanda’s complete guide on the topic.

The Restaurant Industry Award includes casual conversion and you’ll need to take this into account when rostering employees. If casuals are eligible to become permanent it also grants them additional entitlements such as annual leave and sick leave.

Penalties and allowances

All modern Australian Awards include common penalties and allowances under certain working conditions. It’s a good idea to know some of the basic rules that apply. For example, penalty rates give workers more money per hour for working inconvenient times, like a public holiday. By contrast, overtime gives workers more per hour if they have to work a shift that’s longer than their rostered hours.

Restaurant Industry Award workers will also be eligible for other typical allowances, like laundry, clothing and meals. The interpretation of these allowances can be complicated and depends on the situation of your business.

Leave entitlements

Workers employed under the Restaurant Award receive the same leave entitlements as the vast majority of employees in Australia. These are set out in the National Employment Standards (NES). The amount of leave is set out by the classification of the employee. Typically, casuals don’t receive annual leave entitlements, whereas part time and full time employees do.

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.

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