MEDIA RELEASE: Restaurants, cafes and caterers get 7 month reprieve from wage increases

Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) has today expressed disappointment in the decision of the full bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) who have today handed down an increase to the minimum wage of 1.75%, however has welcomed the 7 month delay for businesses under the Restaurant and Hospitality Awards.

R&CA CEO Wes Lambert has said the decision came at a critical time for the more than 43,000 businesses who pay under the Restaurant Industry Award.

“This delay, unique to Group 3 Awards, means one thing to the tens of thousands of businesses and workers in the restaurant café, and catering sector – businesses will have some certainty in uncertain times relating to their wage costs as the country recovers from the COVID-19 crisis.

“The COVID-19 crisis has already forced the permanent closure of as high as 1 in 10 business in our sector, and this decision will only delay pushing these vulnerable businesses further to the edge. Reports today suggest that spending on food and beverages is down 31 percent compared to January 2020.

“R&CA argued strongly for a wage freeze for the entirety of the 2020-21 financial year to ensure businesses had every chance to survive this crisis and today’s decision is a mixed bag for our members.

“It is unfathomable that at a time when more than 800,000 people are out of work that you would want to increase businesses costs anywhere in the economy at all during the 2020-21 financial year”.

R&CA also supported the FWC decision yesterday that gave employers flexibility to increase the hours worked by causal and part time staff receiving JobKeeper.