FWC Rejects Application to Merge with Hospitality Award and Reduce Penalty Rates for Clubs

In April, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) announced its decision in the application by Clubs Australia Industrial (CAI) to merge the Registered and Licensed Clubs Award with the Hospitality Award which would have effectively resulted in a reduction in Penalty Rates.

The FWC has dismissed the application. In dismissing the application, the salient comments from the FWC decision are as follows:

“……… there was virtually no evidence adduced before us of any particular benefit that would be derived from a reduction in penalty rates for the clubs sector through the sector being placed under the Hospitality Award. CAI did not adduce any evidence to the effect that overall employment or hours worked in the sector would increase if weekend and public holiday penalty rates were reduced.”

“A significant number of witnesses who were club managers gave evidence that CAI had not consulted its members about its decision to apply for revocation of the Clubs Award and that the application was not generally supported in this industry.”

“It is clear that, amongst clubs themselves, there is no consensus that there has been any change in the status of the club industry as being separate and distinct or that the industry’s separate award should revoked.”

“CAI’s commitment to the proposition that the clubs industry is not, or is no longer, sufficiently distinguishable from the rest of the hospitality sector such as to justify the maintenance of a separate modern award is dubious.”

“The merits case for any reduction in weekend and public holiday penalty rates in the clubs advanced before us was, if anything, weaker than that considered in the Penalty Rates Decision.”

“We do not consider that the grant of CAI’s application to vary the Hospitality Award so that it covered the clubs industry would achieve the modern awards objective………..the Clubs Award is not obsolete or incapable of operation, and the employees covered by it would not be covered by any other modern award were it to be revoked.”

Should you require further information regarding this decision, please do not hesitate to contact us.

By Greg Arnold

Director and Principal Consultant

Effective Workplace Solutions