The Fast Food Industry Award is being extensively varied from 28 July 2022 to include an amended coverage definition and as part of a project to redraft the award in plain language.
What is the Fast Food Award and who does it cover?
Although most people understand fast food to mean establishments such as McDonalds and Hungry Jacks, coverage of the Fast Food Award is actually more nuanced and is expressed to cover businesses that sell:
- meals, snacks and/or beverages, which are sold to the public primarily to be consumed away from the point of sale;
- take away foods and beverages packaged, sold or served in such a manner as to allow their being taken from the point of sale to be consumed elsewhere should the customer so decide; and/or
- food and/or beverages in food courts and/or in shopping centres and/or in retail complexes, excluding coffee shops, cafes, bars and restaurants providing primarily a sit-down service inside the catering establishment.
The Award therefore also covers business such as coffee-shops that are primarily designed for take-away drinks, or that have seating but food and drinks are packaged so that customers can take items away if they wish (rather than being provided with non-disposable cutlery and crockery).
This sets it apart from the Restaurant Industry Award which would generally cover businesses where food and drinks are provided in a manner that means they have to be consumed on the premises.
What are the new changes to the coverage of the Award?
One significant change to the coverage clause is to state that the “fast food industry means the industry of taking orders for, preparing and selling (by direct provision to the customer and/or by delivery to the customer’s address)…” [various categories of fast food].
The purpose of the amendment is to clarify that businesses such as Menulog, Deliveroo or Uber Eats which market fast food and restaurant meals or engage in the delivery of this food but do not actually prepare the food are notcovered by the Award, and would be more likely covered by the Road Transport and Distribution Award.
What is the plain language re-draft?
The Fast Food Award has also been completely re-written as part of a project to try and ensure awards are expressed in simple language. The intention of this project is not to change the meaning of any terms in the Award, but rather just to add clarity. However, if you are a business covered by the Award it would be well worth reading the new version to ensure that your understanding of the provisions is not altered at all by the new wording.
If there are any provisions which don’t make sense to you, please contact us.
A copy of the Fair Work Commission’s determination which sets out the new version of the Award (and which will come into effect on 28 July 2022 is here: https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/sites/awardsmodernfouryr/pr743528.pdf
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