Fair Work Commission Initiates Review of Retail and Food Service Industry Modern Awards

by Ella

In a significant development in the realm of industrial relations, the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) has announced its intention to conduct a comprehensive review of seven frequently employed modern awards. This announcement comes on the heels of a correspondence dated September 12, 2023, from the Hon. Tony Burke MP, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, addressed to Adam Hatcher, President of the Fair Work Commission, formally requesting this review.

The seven modern awards slated for review are as follows:


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.

Children’s Services Award 2010.

In his review request, Minister Burke has outlined four key priority areas for the Commission’s focus:

Gender Pay Equity: The Commission is urged to ensure 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.”

Job Security: The terms of awards should be assessed to determine if they effectively align with the new object of the Fair Work Act 2009 and modern awards’ objective concerning job security, as well as the need to enhance work accessibility across the economy.

Work and Care: The review should take into account the impact of workplace relations settings on the intersection of work and care.

Arts and Culture: The Commission is expected to evaluate modern award coverage and minimum standards for the arts and culture sector, particularly addressing any potential coverage gaps.

Additionally, Minister Burke has encouraged the Commission to utilize this review as an opportunity to explore ways to make modern awards more user-friendly, without diminishing worker entitlements.

The National Retail Association plans to engage its members to solicit input and will advocate on their behalf by submitting representations to the Commission.

The Commission is poised to release a draft timetable outlining the review’s proceedings later this month.



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